FCE


Functional Capacity Evaluation

A Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) is set of tests, practices and observations that are combined to determine the ability of the evaluated patient to function in a variety of circumstances, most often for employment or disability status, in an objective manner. It considers speed, flexibility, endurance, skill and strength through the use of functional testing, MTM, and standardized measurements to assess job-fit status.

Functional Capacity EvaluationThe FCE is an important tool used to assist employers, physicians, insurance companies, attorneys, case managers and vocational consultants to determine safe, functional levels for an individual to either return to work or to establish functional ability.

An FCE can be used to determine fitness to work following an extended period of medical leave. If an employee is unable to return to work, the FCE provides information on prognosis, and occupational rehabilitation measures that may be possible. An FCE can also be used to help identify changes to employee workload, or modifications to working conditions such as ergonomic measures, that the employer may be able to undertake in an effort to accommodate an employee with a disability or medical condition. FCEs are needed to determine if an employee is able to resume working in a capacity “commensurate with his or her skills or abilities” before the disability or medical condition was diagnosed.

FCFunctional Capacity EvaluationEs may be required by law for some employers before an employee can return to work, as well as by insurers before insurance payments can be made. FCEs are also used to determine eligibility for disability insurance or pension eligibility in the event that an employee is permanently unable to return to work.

The components of the FCE will vary based on the purpose of the assessment. The FCE typically begins with a client interview, medical record review, and musculoskeletal screening. Functional testing may include graded material-handling activities such as lifting, carrying, pushing, and pulling; and positional tolerance activities such as sitting, standing, walking, balancing, reaching, stooping, kneeling, crouching, crawling, object handling/manipulation, hand grasping, and hand manipulation. Pain monitoring is frequently performed during the FCE to document client-reported levels of pain during various activities as well as to manage pain. The FCE may also include evaluation of an individual’s hand dexterity, hand coordination, endurance, and other job-specific functions.

Functional Capacity EvaluationThe FCE report includes an overall physical demand level a summary of job-specific physical abilities, a summary of performance consistency and overall voluntary effort, job match information, adaptations to enhance performance, and treatment recommendations, if requested. Some FCEs are designed to also report on the worker’s ability to meet the cognitive demands of the job in question.

FCEs are done on a one-on-one basis and may range in length from 4 to 6 hours.