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The ICF-based Case Studies Project

Swiss Paraplegic Research (SPF) together with Swiss Paraplegic Centre (SPZ), one of Europe's leading centres for paraplegia, spinal cord injury (SCI) and spinal cord diseases, conducted a series of case studies. Conducting ICF-based case studies was one approach to address SPF's aim to contribute to optimal functioning, social integration, health and quality of life of persons with SCI through clinical and community-oriented research. The ICF-based case studies project began in October 2006. In this project, persons of different age groups and gender and who are living with SCI of varying etiology and levels of severity, were accompanied during their rehabilitation at SPZ. The rehabilitation process was then described using the Rehab-Cycle® and the corresponding ICF-based documentation tools. See detailed information in the section Introduction to ICF-based Documentation Tools and Rehab-Cycle.

Aims of the Case Studies

  • To Illustrate the use of ICF-based documentation tools in structured rehabilitation management based on the Rehab-Cycle®
  • To provide insight into the perspective of persons living with SCI
  • To demonstrate problems and personal resources of persons with SCI
  • To improve the reader's knowledge about using the ICF, Rehab-Cycle® and corresponding ICF-based documentation tools in rehabilitation management

Since persons with SCI are faced with a number of physical, psychological and social challenges, the case studies aimed to cover a broad spectrum of these challenges.

Architecture of the Case Studies

Each case study highlights a specific theme of SCI rehabilitation. The case studies are unique in that each case study not only presents the clinical perspective of rehabilitation management but also emphasizes the person's experience of functioning following SCI. Information was gathered through interviews with the person with SCI as well as with members of the person's rehabilitation team. These interviews were conducted in the beginning and at the end of each observation period. In each case study, the rehabilitation management process is illustrated in the context of the Rehab-Cycle® and using the ICF-based documentation tools. Each case study begins with a general introduction of the highlighted theme. It then provides a general introduction of the person's story, including information about the onset of SCI and proceeds with the description of the person's rehabilitation management process. Also provided are boxes with more detailed information about certain topics that further highlight the specific theme or clarify the person's specific situation.

Educational Aspect of the Case Studies

Questions are given at the end of each case. These questions offer the reader/user the opportunity to check what he or she has learned from each case study. To better understand the case studies, some basic information about SCI, the ICF, ICF Core Sets, the Rehab-Cycle® and the ICF-based documentation tools are provided on separate sections on this website.

Moreover, a printed booklet is published for each case study conducted. You can also find the PDF of these booklets on the website

* Kindly note that the case studies were conducted under the auspices of the ICF Research Branch. When the booklets were published the ICF Research Branch was a cooperation partner within the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for the Family of International Classifications (WHO-FIC) in Germany (at DIMDI). This affiliation is no longer current.