Have you ever wondered when your employee can return to work and what tasks that person will be able to do? Maybe you have been injured yourself and need to know what you can do before returning to work.
The best way to know what one can safely do is through a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE).
The Functional Capacity Evaluation is a way to help determine the abilities of an individual, after an illness or injury. It can also be used for rehabilitation or disability claims.
What is a Functional Capacity Evaluation?
Some injuries are easy to see. But it can be harder to figure out how much an injury affects one’s ability to work.
The goal of a functional capacity evaluation, or FCE, is to measure the physical abilities of an individual. It works to define the impairment and evaluate the level of ability of an individual in a standardized way.
An FCE is an assessment of whether a person can safely return to work and at what level.
A functional capacity evaluation involves a series of standardized physical tests that are typically administered by either a Physical or Occupational therapist.
What is involved in the Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE)?
The examiner will typically want to know about your job, the duties you are required to perform, your diagnosis, and past and ongoing medical treatment. You should bring any medications that you are currently taking as well as any assistive devices.
The therapist will test your balance, how you fatigue during activity, your physical strength, how long you can sit or stand, how flexible you are, how well you can walk, how much you can lift and carry, and your ability to do fine and gross motor skills. The tests may be done using machines, tools, or specific motions. You should dress comfortably in clothing that you can easily move around in.
If you feel tired or your symptoms get worse during the tests, tell the examiner. If you can’t perform or finish a test, tell the examiner this too. This information will be included in the final report of the FCE.
The examiner will be watching you during the test to see if you are in pain or look tired. Your movements and any signs of pain or fatigue will be recorded so that your ability can be better understood.
Who can request a Functional Capacity Evaluation?
An FCE may be ordered by an attorney, an insurance provider offering workers’ compensation coverage, or by an employer. An individual can also self-refer and request a test be done on their own. However, this will typically not be covered by insurance and would be a cash pay scenario.
Who Performs an FCE?
Functional capacity evaluations are typically administered by a licensed physical or occupational therapist.
There are many variations and offerings of FCEs available. However, at our Wichita clinic, our Physical Therapists are certified in a research-backed, standardized FCE process so the results are consistent and defensible in court.
Who gets the results of the FCE?
Who the results go to will depend on who requested the evaluation. It could be an attorney, employer, or worker’s compensation adjuster. The results will be sent in a written report.
Typically, our reports are available and provided to the referral source within 48 hours at WorkSafe Physical Therapy in Wichita, Kansas.
Final Thoughts on FCE
A functional capacity evaluation, or FCE, is a way to measure the physical abilities of an individual. It can be used for rehabilitation or disability claims. The goal of a functional capacity evaluation is to define the impairment and evaluate the level of ability of an individual in a standardized way. An FCE is an assessment of whether you can safely return to work and at what level.