Functional Capacity Evaluation
A Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) is the objective measurement of a person’s ability to perform functional work activities. Functional testing provides an objective measure that is useful in determining work placement, accommodation, treatment requirements, case management, or disability eligibility for a worker. The physician may determine a diagnosis and estimate work “restrictions”. However, in an evidence-based medical model, measurements are preferable to estimates. Thus, when the ability to work is limited or disability is uncertain, functional capacity testing is beneficial in providing an objective determination.
The Functional Capacity Evaluation has become a basic component of work injury management and has been used in the following ways:
- As a stand-alone test to assist in the determination of return-to-work possibilities or to determine whether the absence of abilities to perform the activities involved in gainful employment places the person in a category of disability
- As an entry point to work-related rehabilitation
- As a basis for designing work modifications that allow a person to return to work