Functional Capacity EvaluationsMay 14, 2018
If you have suffered a work injury, you may be fortunate enough that the injury was not serious, and your recovery was quick and free of complications. However, some injuries are more severe, which can impact a worker’s ability to return to their job. There may be physical limitations, as well as cognitive delays, depending on the nature of the injury. If this is the case, you may be required to undergo a functional capacity evaluation (FCE), which evaluates an injured worker’s ability to return to work, including their ability to perform the physical and mental tasks required of their job responsibilities.
Typically, an FCE is performed by a qualified occupational therapist (OT) who will examine the individual’s health status to determine whether they are physically and cognitively able to return to their job. OTs are uniquely qualified to analyze a specific activity and determine whether the worker can perform those tasks. OTs often use FCEs to determine the following:
- Goals for the patient’s rehabilitation
- Ability to return to work, whether it be full duty, modified duty, or transitional duty
- Availability for vocational rehabilitation
- Disability status
- Ability to participate in other activities like school, volunteering, etc.
- Workers’ Compensation case settlement
- Ability to participate in the hiring process, including interviewing and post-offer employment testing
What Does the FCE Process Entail?
In most cases, the FCE process starts with an interview between the client and the OT. The OT will also review the client’s medical records and conduct a musculoskeletal screening. Next, the OT will perform a series of functional tests, including graded material-handling activities that may include lifting, carrying, pushing, and pulling, as well as positional tolerance activities like sitting, standing, walking, reaching, kneeling, and hand manipulation. The OT will also monitor and manage the degree of pain that the client experiences while performing certain activities. Finally, the OT will write a report that includes the following:
- Overall physical demand level
- Summary of job-specific physical abilities
- Summary of performance consistency
- Overall voluntary effort
- Job match information
- Adaptations to improve performance
- Treatment recommendations
- Workers’ ability to meet cognitive demands of a job
Due to the comprehensive, detailed nature of the FCE process, the process can take up to six hours to complete, and often takes place over two days. The FCE is an extremely valuable tool that OTs use to help clients improve their work performance by making effective task modifications and environmental adaptations when necessary. The costs associated with FCEs are covered by the employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance plans.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Protect the Rights of Injured Workers
If you have been injured at work, the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton will guide you through every step of the claims process and ensure that you receive the full benefits that you deserve. If you have any questions or concerns about the FCE process, we will address those concerns and work tirelessly to protect your rights. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.