Functional capacity evaluation (FCE) or functional capacity assessment (FCA) is a systematic, comprehensive, objective measurement of an individual's maximal work abilities. Functional capacity evaluations are done to determine an individual's ability to perform work-related functions.
The functional test may be used alone to document existing impairments or may be used in combination with the Post-Offer Comprehensive test as a comparison against original, baseline data.
One FCA should be given at the time of injury to determine severity and legitimacy for optimum injury management. Another functional capacity assessment should be administered during rehabilitation to determine progress, and one FCA should be conducted post-rehabilitation to determine the employee’s ability to return to his or her job.
At the time of injury, when compared against data previously collected, the FCA may be used to prove consistency and validity of performance and create realistic, objective rehabilitation goals, return to work recommendations, or work conditioning programs to capitalize on injury management procedures. This information is invaluable to objectively move the patient through the system in a fair and timely manner.
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