Application of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health in clinical speech-language pathology practice: A scoping review

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Philippine Journal of Health Research and Development


Background: The use of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF) framework is advocated in Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) clinical practice. As using the ICF leads to improved quality of life in relation to communication and swallowing compared to the medical model, SLP practitioners are encouraged to adopt the ICF framework in their practice. However, there is a lack of ICF-related literature in the Philippines that can serve as a guide for SLP practitioners.

Objectives: The study aimed to identify and describe available international literature and extract key ideas that can serve as a guide for SLP practitioners as they adopt ICF into their practice.

Methodology: The York Framework for scoping reviews was utilized. The review consisted of five stages: (1) identifying research questions, (2) identifying relevant literature, (3) identifying eligible literature, (4) data charting, and (5) summarizing and extracting themes.

Results: The majority of the articles collated were research studies from developed countries. The ICF was applied equally across all age groups and focused on activities and participation rather than health conditions. Thematic analysis showed that ICF was applied in assessment, intervention, and health care service delivery.

Conclusion: Gaps exist in using ICF-based tools in the SLP clinical practice and in the social understanding of the ICF. SLP practitioners are encouraged to learn and adapt the identified ICF-related themes in their practice as it facilitates a holistic understanding of their patient's functioning, disability, and evidence-based clinical decisions, thus, contributing to effective diagnostic and therapeutic processes.

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