WHO-FIC Collaborating Centre in the Nordic Countries


International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF)  
The Nordic and international co-operation on ICF (International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health) is a new task for the Centre. When WHO introduced the new international classification in 2000, they proposed that the Collaborating Centres should include ICF in their work plans. ICD and ICF are considered as reference classifications by WHO.


The Centre functioned as a common information forum during the revision of ICF, and also during the translation to the Nordic languages. The role of the Centre is now to contribute to Nordic implementation of ICF and a standardized use of the classification.


Use of ICF

Full and short versions of ICF have been translated to Danish and Swedish (2003), Norwegian and Finnish (2004).


Translated versions of ICF-CY (Child and Youth) are available in Swedish and Norwegian languages (2010). In Denmark the translation to Danish is in progress.


ICF and ICF-CY have been used in several research works and as a conceptual framework for functioning and disability in relation to health. The clinical use is limited to some areas, as specific core sets, sick leave and DRG for rehabilitation.


In social care there is a growing interest for ICF. Several projects in Sweden have a focus on ICF and ICF-CY to be used as common concepts in social care.


The Nordic Centre co-operates with the WHO-FIC Committee for Implementation and Education (EIC), for implementation and education concerning WHO-FIC classifications.


For ICF a special education package is available from EIC: ICF eLearning Tool. The Nordic Centre has applied for allowance from WHO for the Nordic countries to translate eLearning Tool into the five Nordic languages. Finland and Sweden have plans for translation into their respective languages. For more information see “News”.


Update and revision of ICF

WHO-FIC started updating ICF in 2010. The work concentrates on age specific concepts from ICF-CY which are to be included in ICF. This is a time consuming work, with a risk that the concepts will change meaning. The purpose is to fully integrate ICF-CY in ICF and make the concepts more general, but still include the age perspectives from ICF-CY.  The Nordic Centre participates actively in the WHO-FIC update of ICF and in the Update and Revision Committee (URC), in co-operation with the WHO-FIC Functioning and Disability Reference Group (FDRG).


The update proposals are finalised by the members of URC through a special discussion forum and in the yearly meeting of the Collaborating Centres in October: The WHO-FICs ICF Update Platform.   


FDRG is the WHO-FIC reference group for functioning and disability. This group takes part in the update of ICF, but also work with implementation and education together with EIC and with more general matters in relation to functioning.


A special group, the Functioning Topic Advisory Group (fTAG), has a special responsibility to work with the functioning aspects in ICD-11 and in ICF.


Nordic inventory
The Nordic Centre performed a survey of applications of ICF - practical, educational or research applications - in the Nordic countries. One particular area of interest is the use and development of selected sets if ICF items («core sets») for various specific purposes.

Sets can be based on the needs for specific health conditions or diseases, or may have as a starting point the requirement for specific activities, service (care of the elderly) or setting (school, community care) etc.


The survey was made with support from the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare. Data collection ended in June 2006. Download the report (only available in Swedish).

·         ICF_Nordic Countries_2006.pdf