Functional Capacity Evaluations
“FCEs typically require the evaluator to determine the worker’s capability to perform various work-related tasks and whether there is a match between these abilities and the essential job performance components.” American Association of Occupational Therapy. Most FCE’s within are conducted by occupational therapists in the following incidences:
- Part of ill health / disability / insured benefits.
- To assess the ability to safely return to work. This may include returning to their own job/ an alternate job / adapted or altered position
- To provide recommendations with regards to ongoing treatment e.g. vocational rehabilitation, work hardening or graded return to work program
- To provide recommendations for reasonable accommodations that may facilitate the return to work process.
- Part of rehabilitation to assess the client’s functional abilities with regards to the vocational rehabilitation process.
- Ability to meet job demands as part of a hiring process (pre-work/post-offer employment testing)
- Ability to meet the demands of other activities (i.e., being a student, volunteering)
These assessments are usually one on one assessments that include an interview and medical record review. They usually take at least 2-3 hours and includes various functional testing depending on job description and diagnosis. These may include material-handling activities such as lifting, carrying, pushing, and pulling; physical tolerances in sitting, standing, walking, balancing, reaching etc; object handling/manipulation; pain monitoring; and cognitive testing.
A comprehensive report is usually compiled to describe the findings of the functioning noted, provide insight into job-specific abilities and readiness to return to work as well as provide recommendations for adaptations / accommodations / treatment to enhance performance and future potential for return to work.