Using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health in Physiotherapy in Multidisciplinary Vocational Rehabilitation: A Case Study of Low Back Pain†

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Multidisciplinary teamwork is increasingly recognized as a critical factor of success in vocational rehabilitation. Although its clinical implementation is still challenging, the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) has shown to be a useful framework to facilitate communication between stakeholders, to help structure rehabilitation plans and for setting goals and clarifying team roles. With this in mind, the objective of this teaching case study is to illustrate an application of ICF-based tools in a multidisciplinary return to work (RTW) program for patients with non-specific low back pain (NLBP) from the perspective of the physiotherapist.


The participant is a 42-year-old kindergarten teacher, who was on sick leave for 10 weeks due to NLBP.


This case study describes the use of ICF-based tools such as the Rehabilitation Management Sheet (RehabManagement-Sheet) to guide the rehabilitation process and facilitate team-based and physiotherapist goal setting and documentation in a multidisciplinary RTW program for NLBP.


Utilizing ICF tools, we defined long-term and short-term goals, documented improvements in the patient's impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions and formulated action steps.


The use of ICF-based tools in multidisciplinary rehabilitation allows for a comprehensive assessment, common goal setting and coordinated intervention planning. ICF-based tools like the RehabManagement-Sheet support the physiotherapist's role within the rehabilitation team by enhancing transparency in goal setting and intervention planning across disciplines. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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