A pilot study to investigate the use of the ICF in documenting levels of function and disability in people living with HIV

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South African Journal of Physiotherapy

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University of Cape Town

Objective: The study was a pilot study aimed at investigating the use of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) checklist developed by the World Health Organisation in determining the function of individuals living with HIV in a township near Cape Town. Methods: Twelve participants attending the HIV clinic were examined using the ICF checklist. Findings: Areas of the ICF in which problems were noted included emotional functioning and energy and drive. Four participants complained of increased sensitivity to sound. Several respondents (three) reported difficulties in relationships with community members, with less having problems in family and intimate relationships. Conclusion: The ICF was found to be time consuming and many codes were not relevant. Some of the concepts were not well understood by the participants. However, despite limitations, the use of the ICF in a resource poor setting formed a useful framework within which to examine the functional problems of HIV infected individuals. In the absence of any equivalent unifying framework within which to classify health and health related states, the use of the ICF merits further investigation.