Functional Capacity Evaluation Explained
A Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) is performed by a licensed physical therapist and is a comprehensive objective test of an individual’s ability to perform work-related tasks. The purpose of the exam is to assess the physical capabilities of the client by testing safe maximum workload capacity while accurately documenting these observations. A client’s physical abilities and limitations are compared to the physical and functional findings. This information provides important insight and serves as a critical tool for doctors to use when deciding if and at what level of work an individual or worker is physically capable of returning to following a work-related injury.
The FCE is performed one-on-one between the physical therapist and client. It takes several hours within a one or two-day period, and can be physically challenging for the client. During the FCE, the client may receive continuous cueing and feedback to correct unsafe movements, body mechanics, or techniques throughout the length of the exam. The client will also be educated regarding his/her abilities and physical limitations, with exception of a disability FCE due to legality purposes. This facilitates the proactive role in the return-to-work process.
As mentioned, The FCE is an integral part of the return-to-work process. It forms a medical basis for return-to-work decisions made by Medical Doctors by identifying productivity level factors and/or modifications of physically contraindicated work activities. The FCE interfaces with the information provided by current employees and professionals of each job. Positive feedback about Functional Capacity Evaluations have come from professional areas such as industry, insurance, workers’ compensation, law firms, and medicine. It is the foundation for an effective work injury management system. When a comprehensive, objective FCE is put into optimum use it will assist all who need functional work information. For example, a medical doctor using FCE information can make a more accurate decision regarding a workers compensation injury. The more efficient the doctor’s decision is regarding the client will result in greater cost savings for the company and a more accurate decision regarding the client’s injury management plan for the future.
TheraPro can perform a Functional Job Analysis to form the basis of a job-specific FCE pertaining to your company. Other options include the “Core FCE” or “Disability FCE” created to meet the general needs of a comprehensive physical screen. These can provide the referring doctor with standard information about the client’s ability to function in many aspects, ranging from fine and gross-hand and upper-extremity movements to a variety of lower-extremity functional activities.
TheraPro is a licensed provider for WorkWell Systems Incorporated. To read more about the technical aspects the FCE please click here.