A functional capacity evaluation (FCE) is designed to document both the medical and functional ability of a worker to perform occupational tasks following an injury in order to determine return-to-work readiness and the need for more permanent employer accommodations. FCE’s are typically ordered by an insurer or Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant (QRC).

How does a functional capacity evaluation work?

When MOH Occupational Therapists under the direction of MOH physicians perform an FCE we will typically conduct the assessments:

  • Intake review. We will acquire information related to your medical history, general health, job description, the state / condition of your injury and your work-related goals. We will also examine your perception of pain, its impact on your day-to-day activities and the psychological impact it has had on you.
  • Musculoskeletal evaluation. We will evaluate your strength, range of motion, sensation and volumetric measurements.
  • Physical demand testing. We use standardized and non-standardized tests to observe you using both specific parts and your whole body in work-related tasks.
  • Material testing is used to determine your ability to exert force for the purpose of moving items. This test includes lifting, carrying, pulling and pushing. EPIC lift stations are generally used to test lifting capabilities at various heights, while pushing and pulling tests are conducted with a sled.
  • Non-material handling evaluates tasks involving bending, kneeling, squatting, crawling and climbing ladders; no significant amount of weight or force is involved.
  • General conditioning. This step measures your overall aerobic capacity. The test may involve stair climbing and walking.
  • Specific job simulation. Various evaluations may be performed. Simulations include clerical, patient care, law enforcement and housekeeping.
  • Psychological factors. Several tests may be conducted to measure behavior. The Spinal Functional Sort test is used to compare your perceived level of capability with your actual level of capability.

The FCE includes a summary of your strengths and limitations regarding work-related tasks. It will contain recommendations for safety, rehabilitation and case resolution. A physical capacities form may also accompany the finished report with information on your general material- and non-material handling abilities.