ICF Exchange Among EPR Members

Avenue des Arts 8 c/o CCI 'Salle Magritte' 1210 Brussels, Belgium 6 March 2019

On 6 March 2019 EPR organised a session for members to share experiences and developments in their use of International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) in their respective organizations and to explore what future cooperation could take place within the EPR network on this topic.

International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) Exchange Among EPR Members

An exchange session open to all members was organized by EPR on the 6th of March 2019, to share experiences and developments in the use of International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) in their respective organizations and to explore what future cooperation could take place within the EPR network on this topic. 13 participants from 9 organizations took part to the meeting and two others joined the event online.

Participants were invited to bring their experience and their questions concerning the use of ICF. Most of them presented their own good practice for a total of 7 shared presentations:

  • Theotokos (GR): How to link ICF based digital documentation forms to create professional profiles;
  • Heliomare (NL): A summary and decision strategy of ICF measurements;
  • ONCE / ASPACE (ES) Presentation of a recent tool developed to assess capacities in relation to employment;
  • Ekon (PL): The use ICF with older people;
  • CRPG (PT): The use of ICF in services with persons with acquired disabilities which are in need for specialized support on vocational rehabilitation and return to work;
  • GTB (BE): ICF Core set use and difficulties encountered. The strength-oriented vision of Vocational Rehabilitation and the complaint-oriented vision to receive rights and financial support;
  • BfW Cologne (DE): short presentation of an ongoing project.

All presentations are available on the dedicated forum page.

The open discussion that took place following the presentations helped to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the ICF and highlighted some specific elements.

Obstacles to overcome:

  • ICF is not the only classification system recognized locally. Different nations often have other assessment systems that are difficult to integrate or overlap with ICF;
  • The specific legislation of the different countries often runs the risk of using the assessment compiled through ICF for purposes other than the one desired (monitoring of absenteeism, assessments by insurance companies, etc.);
  • Different organizations use very different levels of ICF scores. Some use the codes completely, others prefer to use only the higher levels and believe that the lower levels are too rigid and impractical;
  • Work fields and politics often want a medical point of view rather than a biopsychosocial approach;

Strengths, tips and future prospects:

  • ICF is very important because it introduced a change of perspective, putting the spotlight on what people can do, while before the focus seemed to be just what zas broiken or didn’t work anymore.
  • It is fundamental to keep the perspective. Not to focus on categories and details without seeing the bigger picture, but seeing the person as a whole.
  • It’s very difficult to go from a microscopic vision (indicator instrument) to a helicopter vision (ICF framework). One solution might be a more multidisciplinary approach, bringing together different professionals in an operational team;
  • The shared challenge now is that of being able to move from scores to qualifiers and connect them with other tools;
  • To speed up the assessment, many organizations suggest that ICF questionnaires could be completed later (at home) by clients.

EPR members proposed to continue to work together and share their experiences on ICF, suggesting these next steps:

  • Each member is at a different point using ICF. It would be useful to have a webinar to show real cases (some kind a demo);
  • The area “Quality of Life” is important because it focuses on the fact that ICF is not only about finding a job; It would be interesting to deepen the topic of how to measure quality of life, keeping it linked to the use of ICF;
  • It is necessary to integrate objectives and dreams and ICF assessment. How to ensure a good integration of ICF and personal planning has to be a topic for future discussions;
  • Having an online meeting in 6 months for updates would help members have a further exchange and feedback;
  • EPR will open a discussion forum for members on the website on the ICF topic to share the presentations and enable discussion between members.
This event receives financial support from the European Union, from the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI). For further information please consult: http://ec.europa.eu/social/easi

Contact person

For more information please contact:

Alicia Gomez Campos