Functional Capacity Evaluation

A functional capacity evaluation, or FCE, is a comprehensive objective test of an individual's ability to perform work-related tasks.

FCEs are known by other terms including physical performance testing, work capacity evaluation, physical ability testing, etc. FCEs typically include testing to determine the worker’s ability to handle material (weight), walking and balance abilities, and positional tolerances such as sitting, standing, bending, or squatting.

What kind of information can I expect to find in an FCE report?

Our partnership with WorkWell Systems, Inc. has permitted us to utilize a nationally recognized system that is standardized and was developed through research and 15 years of experience from many of the leaders in the industry. This computer-based system allows us to complete and send reports in less time and include substantial amounts of information related to the clients effort and cooperation, consistency of performance, subjective pain reports, safety, quality of movement, abilities/strengths, limitations, potential barriers to return to work and U.S. Dept. of Labor physical demand level. These areas of information are derived from extensive assessments over one or two days and can be customized to the needs of the referral source or client.

What should an injured worker expect when participating in an FCE?

The injured worker should expect a rigorous physical and functional examination of his/her abilities. S/he should expect open and honest communication with the clinician, as well as testing requiring conditions to maintain his/her safety and limiting exposure to further injury. Frequently, the worker will be taxed to a physical performance level consistent with his/her occupation, but far above his/her current activity level. This may result in general muscular soreness and/or symptom provocation as maximum safe levels are being determined.

What type of approach does Industrial Rehab take toward FCEs?

Our physical and occupational therapists have been formally trained in a kinesiophysical approach which permits them to quickly and accurately:

  • Identify maximum objective strength of an individual
  • Identify tolerance levels to activities based on objective physical observations
  • Utilize safe testing procedures to ensure no injuries during the testing situations; ensures the client is aware of the difference between safe and unsafe procedures
  • Link functional deficiencies to physical causes
  • Identify submaximal efforts and the presence of self-limiting behavior
  • Provide a clear objective summary report that includes therapist observations, conclusions, and recommendations regarding work

For additional information, please call Memorial Industrial Rehab at (217) 588-2100.