In a Worker’s Compensation injury case, a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) provides both the employer, the employee and/or any legal advisor with a systematic evaluation process designed to document a person’s current work abilities and limitations. The primary purpose of this evaluation is to determine a person’s ability to safely return to work following an injury or illness. Although there are different types of FCE’s, these can be custom tailored to the patient’s need and are performed under the direct supervision of a physical therapist who has been trained on this particular test. The different types of FCE’s can be:
1. Job Specific - which evaluated the worker’s ability to perform the critical demands of his/her specific job as it relates to the nature of the injury.
2. Comprehensive - This evaluates a person’s physical abilities with consideration of a wide range of potential jobs for the individual.
3. One Day - This type of FCE requires 3-4 hours and can be categorized as STANDARD and LONG.
4. TWO DAYS - first day test standard components and the second day is a repeat of specific components (5 hours over 2 days).
There are also different components which will be tested throughout these Functional Capacity Evaluations:
1. Musculoskeletal Exam: Strength and range of motion are studied.
2. Evaluation of Positional Tolerances: Sitting, standing and walking are assessed.
3. Gait assessment: Postural, Static and Ambulatory gaits are evaluated.
4. Repetitive Movement Test: Identifies ability for the patient to maintain control and accuracy.
5. Whole body Static strength: Circuit of tests designed to measure the muscular integrity.
6. Material Handling: Lift, Carry, Push/Pull.
7. Non-Material Handling: Bend/Stoop, Squat, kneel, Crawl, Reach, Climb, Balance, and use of Arms/Legs Control.
8. Customizable Testing: Testing is tailored to the patient’s work activities.