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Vol. 23. Issue 3.
Pages 212-220 (01 May 2019)
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Vol. 23. Issue 3.
Pages 212-220 (01 May 2019)
Original Research
DOI: 10.1016/j.bjpt.2018.08.006
Identification of relevant categories for inpatient physical therapy care using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health: a Brazilian survey
Luciana Narciso Paschoala,
Corresponding author

Corresponding author at: Rua Leôncio Chagas 123, apto 401, Bairro União, CEP: 31170-590, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil.
, Patrícia Nery De Souzab, Cassia Maria Buchallac, Christina May Moran De Britod, Linamara Rizzo Battistellae
a Hospital da Polícia Militar de Minas Gerais and Hospital Metropolitano Odilon Behrens, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil
b Hospital Sírio-Libanês, São Paulo, SP, Brazil
c Department of Epidemiology, Faculdade de Saúde Pública, Universidade de São Paulo (USP), São Paulo, SP, Brazil
d Rehabilitation Service, Hospital Sírio-Libanês and Instituto do Câncer do Estado de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil
e Department of Legal Medicine, Medical Ethics, Social and Work Medicine, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de São Paulo (USP), São Paulo, SP, Brazil

  • Therapists in the hospital should assess functioning to develop the rehabilitation plan.

  • The use of the ICF contributes to a standardized documentation and communication.

  • The relevant ICF categories for inpatient physical therapy care are identified.

  • The use of the selected categories enables the practical application of the ICF.

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Tables (5)
Table 1. Participants and characteristics of the sample.
Table 2. Consensus process from first to second Delphi rounds.
Table 3. ICF Short List for acute care.
Table 4. ICF Short List for post-acute care.
Table 5. Response rate applicability research.
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Hospitalized patients are at risk for the loss of function and impairment. Physical therapists aim to improve functionality and prevent disabilities. The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) propose a universal language to classify the functionality of patients across different health care settings and over diverse health conditions.


To identify the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health categories that describe most common and relevant patient problems managed by physical therapists in Brazilian hospitals in the acute and post-acute care settings.


The participants were physical therapists who worked in hospitals with a minimum work experience of two years.


A consensus-building, two-round, emailed survey was conducted using the Delphi technique.


For the development of an ICF short list, 47 physical therapists from the acute care setting and 30 physical therapists from the post-acute care setting responded to the Delphi exercise. Most of the professionals were from the cardiorespiratory physical therapy area. A 80% level of consensus or higher was established for the selection of the categories of the ICF components (Body Functions, Body Structures, Activities and Participation, and Environmental Factors). We obtained two short lists to be used in clinical practice comprising 39 ICF categories for acute care settings and 53 for post-acute care settings.


This study is the first to identify the most relevant aspects for physical therapy in Brazilian hospitals using the ICF framework. Our results can help to promote the adoption of the ICF in physical therapy clinical practice in the hospital setting.

International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health
Disability evaluation
Treatment outcome
Physical therapy specialty


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