A functional capacity evaluation (FCE) is a set of tests and observations that, when combined, help determine the patient’s ability to function in a variety of circumstances such as sitting, standing, walking, reaching, bending, squatting, kneeling, lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, etc.
1. Functional testing performed as part of the work rehabilitation process.
2. The individual has been participating in ongoing treatment, to reach conclusions about the individual’s ability to safely participate in work and other life activities during their recovery.
3. The individual has reached maximum rehabilitation potential. The patient may have reached a point where he/she is not making functional gains in treatment. Current physical and/or cognitive abilities are requested to assist with claim closure.
4. The individual is working, but difficulty performing job tasks has been reported or observed. A job specific FCE should clearly identify whether there are gaps between safe functional abilities and job demands.
5. Healthcare provider’s report that there is a discrepancy between the individual’s subjective complaints and objective findings, and the FCE is requested to identify the individual’s level of participation, consistency, and behaviors during the evaluation.
6. Physical and/or cognitive abilities data are needed for case management, disability determination, determination of loss of earning capacity, litigation settlement, or case resolution.
7. Physical and/or cognitive abilities are needed to help with a job-placement decision.
8. Physical and/or cognitive abilities are needed to assist with future rehabilitation or vocational planning
9. The patient displays difficulty returning to full duty employment.
10. Objective functional information may be needed upon which to base future rehabilitation or vocational plans
11. The patient may be physically deconditioned with a resulting decrease in job-related functional abilities.
12. The patient may display a discrepancy between subjective complaints and objective findings.
13. Objective functional information may be needed prior to the determination of loss of earning capacity or litigation resolution
1. The complexity of the illness or injury and the residual impairments.
2. The availability of clearly defined, work related physical demands. The word capacity implies potential, which by definition cannot be measured. The FCE measures the ability of the individual to perform functional or work-related tasks and implies or predicts the potential to sustain these work-related tasks over a period of time (i.e. a standard work shift). In some cases, the FCE may be extended beyond 6 hours or two days to further quantify the ability of the patient to sustain the work tasks over a regular work schedule.