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The "Comprehensive ICF Core Set for Head and Neck Cancer": a Delphi consensus survey among German speaking speech and language therapists

Matthias Engelbarts, Vanessa Schuster, Ulrich Kisser, Carla Sabariego, Marita Stier-Jarmer, Michaela Coenen, Benjamin Philipp Ernst, Sebastian Strieth, Ulrich Harréus, Sven Becker
European Archives of Oto-rhino-laryngology 2017, 274 (6): 2589-2599
The "Comprehensive ICF Core Set for Head and Neck Cancer" (ICF-HNC) is an application of the "International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health" (ICF), representing the characteristic spectrum of issues in patients with head and neck cancer (HNC). Our primary aim was to evaluate which categories of the ICF-HNC are dealt with by speech and language therapists (SLTs) in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The secondary aim was to identify outcome measures used by SLTs to measure the categories of the ICF-HNC in clinical practice. SLTs experienced in the treatment of HNC patients evaluated the categories of the ICF-HNC in a three-round Delphi survey. They were asked whether the listed categories represented issues treated by SLTs in HNC patients, and what outcome measures were used to assess them. Altogether, 31 SLTs completed the survey. 47 of 108 previously selected categories of the ICF-HNC achieved the cut-off value. Out of these, 40.4% were derived from the component "Body Functions", 36.2% from "Body Structures", 12.8% from "Environmental Factors", and 10.6% from "Activities and Participation". Altogether, 82 of the mentioned outcome measures were considered as reasonable from the perspective of SLTs. Of these, only 37 achieved more than 50% approval. This study emphasises the importance of "Body Structures" and "Body Functions" for SLTs in Germany and Switzerland in treating patients with HNC. Moreover, the results highlighted the need to agree on evidence-based outcome measures in speech and language therapy.


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