Following a serious work related injury there comes a point when your medical doctors want to determine what your physical capabilities in order to return you to work, evaluate your disability, determine how non-work related conditions affect your work ability or to determine your overall functionality. A Functional Capacity Evaluation or FCE objectively measures an injured employee’s capability, not disability, by identifying safe performance capabilities and comparing them to the job requirements detailed in a Job Demands Analysis (JDA).
FCE’s and JDA’s through the assistance of a physical therapist can determine your strengths, abilities, weaknesses and needs. It can establish the level of physical performance within your tolerance.
An FCE typically includes:
An in-depth questionnaire is used to determine other conditions and specific limitations you may have, whether directly or indirectly related to your job duties.
Real and Simulated Work such as lifting, pushing/pulling, squatting with and without weights, overhead activities and endurance activities, such as maintaining a position for a specified length of time or walking for a specified distance, plus any other work-specific activities you may perform when at work.
An FCE can last several hours to a couple of days, depending on the scope of testing. It is important during your testing that you be honest and truthful. You have the right to refuse to continue any test procedure at any time. However, if appropriate and safe, the Therapist may ask you to continue despite minor pain. It is only during this period that a proper assessment of the degree of functional ability or disability can be made.
The FCE can be very beneficial in finding appropriate work for an injured worker. The exact restrictions and limitations can open doors to jobs or opportunities that may have been excluded but for the FCE.