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Identification of Intervention Categories for Physical Therapy, Based on the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health: A Delphi Exercise


Finger, Monika E.; Cieza, Alarcos; Stoll, Juerg; Stucki, Gerold; Huber, Erika Omega


American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)


Physical Therapy, 2006, Volume 86 (Number 9), Seite 1203-1220, Alexandria, Virginia: Eigenverlag, ISSN: 0031-9023 (Print); 1538-6724 (Online)




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Background and Purpose:

Disability or limitations in human functioning are universal experiences that concern all people. Physical therapists aim to improve functioning and prevent disability. With the approval of the new International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), we can now rely on a globally recognized framework and classification to be used in different health care situations by all health care professionals in multidisciplinary teams.


The objective of this study was to identify ICF categories that describe the most relevant and common patient problems managed by physical therapists in acute, rehabilitation, and community health care situations taking into account 3 major groups of health conditions: musculoskeletal, neurological, and internal.


The subjects were physical therapists who were identified as possible participants by the heads of physical therapy departments who were members of the Swiss Association of Physical Therapy Department Heads or who were recruited from the membership of the Swiss Association of Physiotherapy.


A consensus-building, 3-round, electronic-mail survey with 9 groups of physical therapists was conducted using the Delphi technique.


Two hundred sixty-three physical therapists participated in at least one round of the Delphi exercise. They had consensus levels of 80 percent or higher for categories in all ICF components (Body Functions, Body Structures, Activities and Participation, and Environmental Factors 1 and 2).

Discussion and Conclusion:

This study is a first step toward identifying a list of intervention categories relevant for physical therapy according to the ICF. The ICF, designed as a common language for multidisciplinary use, is also a very helpful framework for defining the core competence for the physical therapy profession.

Weitere Informationen:

Informationen in der ICF:


Zeitschriftenbeitrag / Forschungsergebnis / Online-Publikation


Physical Therapy

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Informationsstand: 09.04.2010

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