World Health Organization ICF resources

The World Health Organization is mandated under its constitution to produce international classifications on health so that there is a consensual, meaningful and useful framework which governments, providers and consumers can use as a common language. The ICF is one of the reference classifications in the WHO Family of International Classifications.

ICF browser

Using this online browser you can see the structure of the classification, look up the codes and definitions, create your own short lists of ICF codes and view the classification in more than one language. The ICF browser includes versions in Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

ICF information sheet

The ICF information sheet is a two page document giving brief information on what the ICF is and references to further information.  It is intended for people with little or no knowledge about the ICF.

ICF overview

The ICF overview is an eight page introduction to ICF, which provides more information about the underlying principles and how to use the classification.

WHO Practical Manual

Under development; due for publication in 2013.

WHO Family of Classifications meetings

The WHO Classifications and Terminologies team holds annual meetings with its network of collaborating centres for the family of international classifications and interested non-governmental organisations in official relations; the WHO-FIC network.  Download papers and posters from the WHO-FIC meetings.  

WHO regional offices

Each region of the world is served by a WHO Regional Office with a responsibility to support the member states in the generation and use of appropriate health information.

WHO collaborating centres

WHO works with a number of collaborating centres. These centres are located in all regions of the world and may be able to help with your ICF questions. Many of them maintain websites that include information on the ICF.  

Different language versions of the ICF have been made. Please enquire from one of the collaborating centres to see if ICF is available in your language. 

ICF Australian user guide

The Australian Collaborating Centre has published an ICF user guide as a complement to the ICF. The guide provides information on the content and usefulness of the ICF, current and emerging applications of ICF in Australia and advice about ‘getting started’ as well as supporting a consistent and constructive approach to using the ICF.

North American Collaborating Centre newsletter

The North American Collaborating Centre produces a monthly electronic newsletter with information on projects on ICF. You can subscribe to this newsletter via their website.

The Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI) hosted an ICF Knowledge Sharing Collaborative in Canada, amongst collaborators are physical therapists.  For further information contact Diane Caulfeild at dcaulfeild@cihi.ca

Dutch Collaborating Centre newsletter

The Dutch Collaborating Centre produces a newsletter two to three times a year and maintains a database of references on ICF.  A free digital subscription to the newsletter can be obtained by sending an empty email with "WHO-FIC Newsletter" in the subject line to who-fic.newsletter@rivm.nl

WHO Collaborating Centre for the German language

The Collaborating Centre for the German language includes an ICF Research Branch. The development of disease specific subsets of ICF categories or core sets has been a major part of the work. A core set of ICF categories that are the intervention targets for physical therapy has been published (Finger ME, Cieza A, Stoll J, Stucki G, Huber EO.  Identification of intervention categories for physical therapy, based on the international classification of functioning, disability and health: a delphi exercise.  Phys Ther. 2006 Sep;86(9):1203-20)

Other work involves the development of case studies to describe ICF use in spinal cord injury rehabilitation.

ICF checklist

The ICF checklist is a subset of the major categories in the ICF for use in clinical settings. The ICF checklist is a practical tool to elicit and record information on the functioning and disability of an individual.

Download the ICF checklist in Spanish, developed by The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

WHO disability assessment schedule (version 2.0)

WHO-DAS 2.0 is a measure of functioning and disability that is conceptually compatible with WHO's International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health