Functioning after stroke : An application of the International Classification of Functioning,Disability and Health (ICF)

Abstract: Objective. The overall aim of this thesis was to evaluate the biopsychosocial consequences after stroke and test the validity of the ICF Core Sets for Stroke during one year post-stroke. Material and Methods. Studies I, II and III were based on data from a prospective cohort study with 120 stroke survivors who were recruited at admission to stroke units in western Sweden and were followed-up at six weeks, three months and one year after stroke event. Repeated assessments were done through face-to-face interviews consisting of a battery of questions based on the Stroke ICF Core Set (59 categories of Body Functions, 59 of Activities and Participation and 37 of Environmental Factors) and several questionnaires (EuroQol-5D (EQ-5D), Stroke Impact Scale (SIS), Medical Outcome Study Short Form 36 (SF-36), Self administered Comorbidity Questionnaire (SCQ), information on health care and social services utilization and spouse support). Study IV was based on data from the multi-center cross-sectional validation study of the Stroke ICF Core Set with 757 stroke survivors from China, Germany, Italy and Sweden. Results. Study I: A total of 28 of 59 ICF categories of Body Functions and a total of 41 of 59 categories of Activities and Participation were significant problems for stroke survivors at six weeks and three months. These categories showed a good discriminative ability to distinguish between independent (≤ 2 on modified Ranking Scale (mRS)) and dependent (> 2 on mRS) stroke survivors. Study II: Most stroke survivors felt satisfied with their stroke care and rehabilitation during three months post-stroke. Frequently perceived environmental facilitators could be documented with eleven of 37 ICF categories of Environmental Factors. Only physical geography, such as hills, was a common perceived barrier. Study III: Independent factors of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) varied over time. Almost all variance in HRQoL was explained by categories within Body Functions and within Activities and Participation during the first three months, while at one year only half of the variance could be explained by categories within either Body Functions or Environmental Factors. Problems with personal and energy functions, as well as limited recreational activities, were recurringly associated with poorer HRQoL. Study IV: It was possible to integrate ICF categories of Body Functions and Structures, Activities and Participation into a cross-cultural measurement with good reliability providing summary scores of the overall functioning of stroke survivors. However, the five-point ICF qualifier scale was not consistently applicable. Conclusions. The results of the present thesis showed that the ICF,particularly the ICF Core Set for Stroke, was a valid and practical tool for documenting the multi-faceted biopsychosocial problems and consequences after stroke structured with one common terminology throughout the long chain of care and rehabilitation. The opportunity to integrate ICF categories of Body Functions and Structures, Activities and Participation into a measurement provides new possibilities for monitoring, following-up and comparing overall functioning after stroke.