ICF-DOC: The ICF dedicated checklist for evaluating functioning and disability in people with disorders of consciousness

Matilde Leonardi, Venusia Covelli, Ambra M. Giovannetti, Alberto Raggi, Davide Sattin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Clinicians need a comprehensive description of patients' functioning state to capture the complex interaction between symptoms and environmental factors, and to determine the actual level of functioning in patients in a vegetative state or a minimally conscious state. The aim of this study is to develop an International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF) checklist for patients with disorders of consciousness (DOC) so as to capture and describe, with a tailored list of categories, the most common health, disability, and functioning issues of adult patients with DOC. The WHO ICF checklist was used as a basis for collecting data. This was an observational, cross-sectional, multicenter study conducted in 69 Italian centers. Specific methodological procedures were used to identify the most appropriate categories for DOC patients to be added to or deleted from the ICF checklist so as to develop the ICF-DOC checklist. A total of 566 adult patients were enrolled: 398 in a vegetative state and 168 in a minimally conscious state. A total of 127 ICF categories reached the threshold of 20% concerning the presence of a problem: 37 categories from the body functions chapter, 13 from the body structures chapter, 46 from the activities and participations chapter, and 31 from the environmental factors chapter. ICF categories identified in this study can be useful guidelines for clinicians and researchers to collect data on functioning and disability of adult patients with DOC. The new ICF-DOC checklist allows monitoring of the effects of interventions on functional areas and possible changes in each patient in follow-up studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-204
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Rehabilitation Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • consciousness disorders
  • International Classification of Functioning and Disability
  • minimally conscious state
  • vegetative state

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Medicine(all)


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