Towards a Common Language for Functioning, Disability and Health: ICF (The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health)

World Health Organization (WHO), (2002)

The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, known more commonly as ICF, provides a standard language and framework for the description of health and health-related states. Like the first version published by the World Health Organization for trial purposes in 1980, ICF is a multipurpose classification intended for a wide range of uses in different sectors. It is a classification of health and health-related domains -- domains that help us to describe changes in body function and structure, what a person with a health condition can do in a standard environment (their level of capacity), as well as what they actually do in their usual environment (their level of performance). These domains are classified from body, individual and societal perspectives by means of two lists: a list of body functions and structure, and a list of domains of activity and participation. In ICF, the term functioning refers to all body functions, activities and participation, while disability is similarly an umbrella term for impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions. ICF also lists environmental factors that interact with all these components.


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