Functional Capacity Evaluation
A functional capacity evaluation (FCE) evaluates an individual’s capacity to perform work activities related to his or her participation in employment (Soer et al., 2008). The FCE process compares the individual’s health status, and body functions and structures to the demands of the job and the work environment. In essence, an FCE’s primary purpose is to evaluate a person’s ability to participate in work, although other instrumental activities of daily living that support work performance may also be evaluated. Similar types of testing may also be called a functional capacity assessment (FCA), physical capacity assessment or evaluation (PCA or PCE), or work capacity assessment or evaluation (WCA or WCE).
A well-designed FCE should consist of a battery of standardized assessments that offers results in performance-based measures and demonstrates predictive value about the individual’s return to work (Kuijer et al., 2011; Soer, et al., 2008). Traditionally, FCEs measured an individual’s ability to perform the physical demands of a job, but over the last decade many FCE batteries have begun to include evaluation of cognitive demands if such testing is warranted. The FCE must be administered with care for the client’s safety and well-being.
This is a highly specialized service in which extensive physical and evaluative testing is done that will answer the following questions:
- Can this person return to work safely?
- How severe is the client’s pain?
- What type of job can a person physically handle?
- What are a candidate’s safe lifting tolerances?
- What work accommodations could be made to allow this person back to work?
- What is the next appropriate step in regards to rehabilitation?
- What are candidate’s cardiovascular and physical endurance limitations for working?
- What are positional tolerances for standing, sitting, walking?