Functional Capacity Evaluations: Physical Therapy

Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCE) refers to an assessment process that includes a combination of physical tests and observations. As the name suggests, these are conducted to evaluate the functional capability of an individual following an injury or surgery. In this process, a thorough evaluation is done to check for the employee’s physical condition and assess if he can return to his occupational routine. Also, it determines the number of hours that the employee may be able to work beside any changes required at the workplace.

What It Includes?

FCE procedure includes a variety of tests and processes as enlisted below:

  • The ability to bend
  • Ability to hold or grasp things
  • Duration for which the person can sit or stand comfortably
  • The capacity to lift weight
  • The power to push or pull objects
  • Body balancing ability
  • MET- Metabolic equivalents which measure the performance of the heart and the circulatory system
  • Tests to check the coordination between the hands and eyes
  • Cognitive testing

Depending on the nature of the patient’s job, he may be asked to walk, sit, stand, stoop, use the stairs, kneel, lift weights, reach out to objects etc. The physical therapist may ask the patient to stop as soon as there is any discomfort or when the required level of testing is reached. The patient may also be questioned about the mode, time and severity of injury besides the activities which aggravate pain or discomfort.

Benefits Of Functional Capacity Evaluation

  • Employees who have been on a leave from work from a long time due to a medical problem can get their physical fitness levels assessed when they want to resume work. This helps the employer to evaluate the amount and type of work that can be performed efficiently.
  • FCE can be conducted before a surgery to assess the patient’s endurance levels and decide if it is safe to proceed with the surgical procedure. This is particularly important for surgeries which may involve blood loss.
  • FCE helps the physical therapists in designing a rehabilitation plan for the patient. It may also be helpful in examining the progress made by the patient post-rehabilitation
  • It helps in assessing the loss of functional abilities of employees who have suffered an accident at the workplace. This is beneficial in settling medical claims and wage loss compensation for both the employee as well as the employer.
  • People who wish to avail social security disability benefits can get their evaluation done
  • Those applying for a job post illness or an accident can get their functional capacity evaluated and submit the reports to the prospective employer
  • Insurance claims can be settled on the basis of FCE reports

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