ICF Core Sets, a selection of ICF categories from the entire classification for specific health conditions, condition groups and settings, have been developed to facilitate a systematic and comprehensive description of functioning for use for various purposes and in various settings including clinical practice and research. In these settings an ICF Core Set can serve as a minimal standard for the assessment and documentation of functioning and health in clinical studies and comprehensive single or multi-professional clinical encounters.
There are comprehensive and brief versions of ICF Core Sets. The Comprehensive ICF Core Set for a specific condition contains as few ICF categories as possible to be practical, but as many as necessary to be sufficiently comprehensive in describing the typical spectrum of problems in functioning of persons with a specific health condition. The Comprehensive ICF Core Set is ideal (although not limited) for use in conducting multi- and interdisciplinary assessments. It encourages members of the multidisciplinary team to consider potentially relevant aspects of functioning even in areas of functioning outside of their respective disciplines. A Brief ICF Core Set is a selection of ICF categories from the Comprehensive ICF Core Set for the same health condition. Logically Brief ICF Core Sets are considerably shorter than the comprehensive version. Brief ICF Core Sets are ideal (although not limited) for use in both clinical studies and single-profession clinical encounters.
ICF Core Sets for the acute, post-acute and long-term context have been developed.
A first version of ICF Core Sets for spinal cord injury (SCI) was finalized in 2007. These comprise of four ICF Core Sets - a Brief and a Comprehensive ICF Core Set for the post-acute context and a Brief and a Comprehensive ICF Core Set for the long-term context. For use in the acute context ICF Core Sets for patients with neurological conditions in the acute hospital has been developed.
It is important to note that the ICF Core Sets for SCI, like all other ICF Core Sets, only tell you what to measure, and not how to measure the respective categories. In clinical practice, ICF Core Sets together with ICF qualifiers can be employed to identify the level of impairment in body functions and structures, limitations in activities, restrictions in participation, and the extent of influence environmental factors have on the functioning of a specific patient. The combined use of ICF Core Sets and ICF qualifiers are essential elements in the ICF-based documentation tools developed to accompany the Rehab-Cycle®. To learn more about the Rehab-Cycle® and ICF-based documentation tools see “Introduction to ICF-based Documentation Tools and Rehab-Cycle®”.