Volume 44 Number 7 2007
Pages 991 — 1006

Abstract - Using International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health to understand challenges in community reintegration of injured veterans

Linda J. Resnik, PhD, PT, OCS;1-2* Susan M. Allen, PhD2

1Providence Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Providence, RI; 2Department of Community Health, Brown University, Providence, RI

Abstract — This pilot study used the framework of the World Health Organization's International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) to understand the challenges faced by Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) veterans as they reintegrate into the community. We conducted semistructured interviews with 14 injured veterans, 12 caregivers, and 14 clinicians. We used ICF taxonomy to code data and identify issues. We identified challenges in the following ICF domains: learning and applying knowledge; general tasks and demands; communication; mobility; self-care; domestic life; interpersonal interactions, major life areas; and community, social, and civic life. We found many similarities between the challenges faced by veterans with and without polytraumatic injuries, although veterans with polytraumatic injuries faced challenges of greater magnitude. Identifying community reintegration challenges early and promoting reintegration are important mandates for the Department of Veterans Affairs. The findings of this study are useful in understanding the needs of OEF/OIF veterans.

Key words: activities, community reintegration, ICF, International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, OEF/OIF, participation, polytrauma, rehabilitation, TBI, veterans.

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