TitleUsing the international classification of functioning, disability and health to expand understanding of paralysis in the United States through improved surveillance.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsFox, MH, Krahn, GL, Sinclair, LB, Cahill, A
JournalDisability and health journal
Date Published07/2015
KeywordsUnited States

BACKGROUND: Surveillance on paralysis prevalence has been conceptually and methodologically challenging. Numerous methods have been used to approximate population-level paralysis prevalence estimates leading to widely divergent prevalence estimates. OBJECTIVE/HYPOTHESES: To describe three phases in use of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) as a framework and planning tool for defining paralysis and developing public health surveillance of this condition. METHODS: Description of the surveillance methodology covers four steps: an assessment of prior data collection efforts that included a review of existing surveys, registries and other data collection efforts designed to capture both case definitions in use and prevalence of paralysis; use of a consensus conference of experts to develop a case definition of paralysis based on the ICF rather than medical diagnostic criteria; explanation of use of the ICF framework for domains of interest to develop, cognitively test, validate and administer a brief self-report questionnaire for telephone administration on a population; and development and administration of a Paralysis Prevalence and Health Disparities Survey that used content mapping to back code items from existing national surveys to operationalize key domains. RESULTS: ICF coding led to a national population-based survey of paralysis that produced accurate estimates of prevalence and identification of factors related to the health of people in the U.S. living with paralysis. CONCLUSIONS: The ICF can be a useful tool for developing valid and reliable surveillance strategies targeting subgroups of individuals with functional disabilities such as people with paralysis and others.