Functional capacity evaluation

Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE)

CCMC in their Glossary of Terms defines the Functional Capacity Evaluation as- A systematic process of assessing an individual’s physical capacities and functional abilities. The FCE matches human performance levels to the demands of a specific job or work activity or occupation. It establishes the physical level of work an individual can perform. The FCE is useful in determining job placement, job accommodation, or return to work after injury or illness. FCE’s can provide objective information regarding functional work ability in the determination of occupational disability status. 

Where is the FCE used?

The FCE is used in occupational health case management to directly measure the patients ability to perform work related activities. It can be part of the initial assessment, used to determine the work conditioning plan or to reassess progress and ability to return to work. The Evaluation is done in a structured setting, not the place of work, and performed by a physical therapist or physician. 

What is included in the FCE?

During the FCE the patient is evaluated as they perform activities they are required to do in their job. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • squatting
  • sitting
  • pushing
  • pulling
  • turning
  • standing
  • kneeling
  • balancing
  • navigating stairs
  • hand grip

The amount of time the patient can perform each of these tasks is important. 

Limitations of the Functional Capacity Evaluation

The FCA is dependent on the participation of the individual being evaluated, and only reflects what they are able or willing to do at the time of the evaluation. Factors that may influence this include, sincerity of effort, motivation, and mental alertness.