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J Rehabil Med. 2013 Sep;45(9):888-99. doi: 10.2340/16501977-1191.

Goal-setting in multidisciplinary team care for patients with rheumatoid arthritis: an international multi-center evaluation of the contents using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health as a reference.

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  • 1Department of Rheumatology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.



To make a cross-cultural comparison of the contents of rehabilitation goals of patients admitted for rehabilitation and to compare the contents with the comprehensive International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) Core Set for rheumatoid arthritis, by linking their contents to the ICF.


A random sample of 80 patients with rheumatoid arthritis was retrieved from rehabilitation clinics in 4 countries.


Rehabilitation goals were extracted from the medical records and linked to the ICF using standardized linking rules.


A total of 495 rehabilitation goals were identified and linked to 952 ICF codes, resulting in 151 unique ICF codes. Two-hundred and seventy-five (29%) of the 952 ICF codes were related to "Body Functions" (b-codes), 80 (8%) to "Body Structures" (s-codes), 419 (44%) to "Activities and Participation" (d-codes) and 178 (19%) to "Environmental Factors" (e-codes). Thirty-five of the 151 unique ICF codes (23%) were not in the comprehensive ICF Core Set for RA, whereas 23 of the ICF codes in this Core Set (24%) were not in the rehabilitation goals.


The goals set in a team rehabilitation setting for patients with rheumatoid arthritis are related to all ICF components, with "Activities and Participation" being the most frequently addressed. The contents of the goals are, to a considerable extent, covered by the comprehensive ICF Core Set for RA, but additional evaluation is required before the ICF Core Set is used as a rehabilitation tool in rheumatoid arthritis.

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