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J Rehabil Med. 2011 Nov;43(11):987-96. doi: 10.2340/16501977-0886.

Linking cerebral palsy upper limb measures to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health.

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School of Occupational Therapy, La Trobe University, Bundoora.



Intervention studies describe outcomes as meas-uring specific domains of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). However, the same measure may be described by different authors as assessing different domains, resulting in considerable confusion and inconsistent reporting of outcomes.


To systematically link the scored items from the Melbourne Assessment of Unilateral Upper Limb Function, Quality of Upper Extremity Skills Test and Assisting Hand Assessment to domain(s) of the ICF.


The meaningful concept for each scored item was defined. Using ICF linking rules, the concepts were assigned ICF codes to determine the outcome's overall domain of measurement.


The Melbourne Assessment predominantly evaluates concepts in the body function domain. Coding of the Quality of Upper Extremity Skills Test indicated that dissociated movement, weight-bearing and protective extension predominantly measure concepts in the body function domain. Grasp was the only domain where concepts were coded in both the body function and activity domains. The Assisting Hand Assessment was the only measure where the majority of items assessed concepts in the activity domain.


Measures of upper limb function can be categorized according to ICF domains. These findings should resolve confusion surrounding the classification of these measures and provide a reference for reporting the impact of intervention.

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