A Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) is a systematic process of assessing an individual’s physical capacities and functional abilities. The FCE matches human performance levels to the demands of a specific job or work activity or occupation.
The FCE may be used:
The FCE is useful in determining job placement, job accommodation, or return to work after injury or illness. FCEs can provide objective information regarding functional work ability in the determination of occupational disability status.
It will determine the workers’ ability to safely return to work full time or on modified duty.
- To determine if work restrictions, job modifications, or reasonable accommodations are necessary to prevent further injury.
- To determine the extent to which impairments exist, or the degree of physical disability for legal or compensation purposes.
- To predict the potential ability to perform work following acute rehabilitation or a prolonged work- rehabilitation program.
The functional capacity evaluation assesses the individual’s flexibility, strength, balance, coordination, cardiovascular condition, and body mechanics. An effective FCE determines whether there is a match between the individual’s functional capabilities, and the physical demands of work, based on the (USDL) Dictionary of Occupational Titles. The individual’s psychosocial behaviors are assessed in relation to appropriate worker traits.
There are two types of FCE:
- Baseline FCE — An objective assessment of the individual’s physical abilities to perform a variety of tasks related to the physical demands of work
- Job specific FCE – An evaluation of the individual’s physical abilities to function within the parameters of an identified job. The job specific FCE is based on critical physical demands of the essential functions of the job. Work simulation activities are often an integral component of the evaluation.
- Individuals who have achieved maximum medical improvement but continue to have issues related to re-injury and return to work.
- Individuals who need quantification of their physical capacities for determination of disability status.
- Individuals who need their function quantified prior to vocational job search and/or return to work.
- Individuals who require quantification of their physical function for medical legal reasons.