ICF Core Sets for patients with Head and Neck Cancer
Persons with head and neck cancer (HNC) sometimes face drastic functional problems in breathing, eating, speech production and pain. Also disfigurement can lead to changes in self-image, worsened relationship with the partner and increased social isolation. Determining how to measure functioning in every-day life-situations or quality of life has been a challenging task. Previously available measures often posed issues of reliability, validity, conciseness and/or cross-cultural application. In addition, many tools concentrated on selected aspects of the entire problem. For clinical practice and research it having a practical framework that covers the entire spectrum of disabilities and guides all aspects of rehabilitation would be valuable. To tackle this issue, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the ICF Research Branch, with scientific support from the Department of Otorhinolaryngology at Ludwig-Maximilian University (Germany), Merseyside Head and Neck Cancer Centre at University Hospital Aintree (UK), Dept. of Otorhinolaryngology at Leipzig University (Germany), Department of Otolaryngology at University of Minnesota (USA), University of Iowa (USA) and Washington University School of Medicine (USA), initiated a project to develop ICF Core Sets which can serve as minimal standards for the assessment and documentation of functioning and health of persons with HNC in clinical studies, clinical encounters and multi-professional comprehensive assessment.