How Does the Chronic Pain Grade Survey Match Up Against the ICF Model?
The world is becoming more of a single research community. As this happens, scientists are looking for ways to measure and report outcomes so they can be compared from study to study. The World Health Organization (WHO) is helping foster this kind of communication.
They have developed a three-part tool called the International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health (ICF). The ICF will help health care professionals study and discuss any health problem. This includes chronic pain. The ICF uses three main outcomes. These include: impairment, activity limitations, and participation restrictions.
In this study, researchers match a survey called the Chronic Pain Grade Questionnaire (CPG) against the ICF to see if items measured in the CPG match the three categories of the ICF.
They asked 12 health professionals (doctors and researchers) to read each of the seven items on the CPG survey. Then they identified which of the three ICF outcomes each item was measuring.
They found that all three ICF outcomes were measured by the CPG. Some items were easily classified as a single outcome measure. But some of the survey questions could be put in more than one of the three ICF outcomes.
Mixed items like this can lead to conflation. Conflation is the error of treating two distinct concepts or results as if they were one. This means that according to the ICF model, the CPG combines results to come to one conclusion.
The authors say the CPG can still be used but extra analysis may be needed. It will be important to measure the three ICF outcomes independently without overlap. In this way, scientists can separate out how often impairment, activity limitations, and participation restrictions occur with each painful condition.
This information will help public health organizations like the WHO to find ways to reduce disability. Future studies should be designed to measure each ICF item individually.
Diane Dixon, et al. What Does the Chronic Pain Grade Questionnaire Measure? In Pain. August 2007. Vol. 130. No. 3. Pp. 249-253.
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