Functioning and disability in the vegetative state: Results from a pilot study in Italy

Matilde Leonardi, Davide Sattin, Alberto Raggi, Giacomo Frosi, Camilla Pisoni, Caterina Pistarini, Anna Compostini, Marina Manera, Massimo Croci, Giovanni Battista Guizzetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose.To describe functioning and disability of patients in vegetative state (VS) according to the biopsychosocial model of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). Method.Patients in VS admitted to long-stay hospitals were consecutively enrolled, and the ICF checklist was completed by trained professionals. ICF categories utilisation is described. Results.Twenty-one patients (15 males) were enrolled, mean age was 51.9 and mean duration of VS was 22 months. The majority of body functions and structures categories are reported as problems in less than 20% of patients. In the activity and participation domain, majority of ICF categories were not applicable and, among opened categories, performance was usually better than capacity. Among environmental factors, categories are mostly described as facilitators. Conclusions.This is the first pilot study in which the applicability of the ICF checklist to patients in VS was tested, showing the applicability of ICF categories within A&P domain, and the presence of few but very strong facilitating environmental factors. This study also sets the premises for a study on people in VS and in minimal conscious state both at a national and international level.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Disability
  • ICF
  • Vegetative state

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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