Functional Capacity Evaluation

Functional Capacity EvaluationFunctional capacity evaluation (FCE) is a series of standardised tests, practices and observations that are combined to objectively assess a worker’s functional ability to perform the physical demands of the proposed role(s) and determine whether the worker has the capacity to undertake these demands.

The functional capacity evaluation (FCE) tests are designed on a case-by-case basis. The evaluator will select relevant tests to meet the application of the assessment. Key elements of the functional capacity evaluation (FCE) include diagnosis, impairment, pain and functional limitation, referral questions and the case resolution goal. Following the functional capacity evaluation (FCE) the evaluator will make professional, clinical judgements based on the functional ability gathered during the evaluation, instead of the pain limitation associated with impairment.

A series of pain assessment and physical tests make up a functional capacity evaluation (FCE). These diagnostics are designed to measure workers:

  • Physical strength
  • Range of movement
  • Stamina
  • Tolerance to functional activities, including lifting and carrying

A main focus whilst undertaking a functional capacity evaluation (FCE) is the prevention of further injury. Action OHS Consulting has tertiary qualified professionals who complete each functional capacity evaluation (FCE). Our consultants, with backgrounds in physiotherapy, exercise physiology or occupational therapy ensure safe systems are established to ensure the safety of your employees.

The functional capacity evaluation (FCE) is not only a useful clinical tool; the results clearly define an individual’s transition from injury to employment and from disability to deployment. Related terms include Physical Capacities Evaluation, Functional Assessment or Work Capacity Evaluation. If you would like to find out how Action OHS Consulting manage worker safety by completing functional capacity evaluations (FCEs), please contact us.

For more information regarding a functional capacity evaluation (FCE), please see below.


How does a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) assist businesses?

The results of a functional capacity evaluation (FCE) should  be compared with the physical demands of potentially available jobs. When this is done, a functional capacity evaluation (FCE) can assist a business ensure that they provide a safe workplace. This is achieved by ensuring that workers have the functional capacity to safely perform their job. As a result, a functional capacity evaluation (FCE) may be used as a source of information to proactively:

  • Assess the worker’s capacity to meet the physical demands of specific roles when other sources do not provide this information
  • Develop Return-to-Work (RTW) programs. This is a result of the employer being able to proactively establish what light duties an injured worker can safely do
  • Communicate relevant information to involved parties including the worker, treating practitioners and employer
  • Report key observations in relation to appropriate and inappropriate activities and behaviours
  • Make recommendations about interventions such as safe manual handling and other actions which will facilitate return to work
  • Track changes in their worker’s functional capacity following work conditioning programs to prevent injury or aggravation

As a result, a functional capacity evaluations (FCE) can financially benefit an organisation through proactive reductions in insurance premiums and assist in preventing the length of active WorkCover claims. This occurs as workers are returned to work on the basis of and objective understanding of their functional capacity.

What does a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) involve?

A functional capacity evaluation (FCE) requires approximately three hours with the worker and depending on the complexity of the functional capacity evaluation (FCE) an additional three hours to score the functional capacity evaluation (FCE) and complete a detailed report.

Initially the evaluator will work with the business to identify potential return to work options and goals for the injured worker. During this time the evaluator will commence gathering and reviewing the following information which may include, but is not limited to, medical reports, rehabilitation reports or previous functional capacity evaluations (FCEs), medical investigations, the worker’s position description, and the physical demands statement that has been developed for the job to get an indication of the tasks and repetition throughout the working day / shift. Depending on the level of detail contained in this, the assessor may be required to visit the worker whist at work to better understand the role they complete. Medical consent is provided before accessing personal or medical records.

The next step  in the functional capacity evaluation (FCE) process involves the worker visiting a clinic to undergo the functional capacity evaluation (FCE). Both the worker and the business will be provided with an overview of the functional capacity evaluation (FCE) assessment prior to attendance at site.

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