A Functional Capacity Evaluation is a test to determine the ability of the evaluated person to function in a variety of circumstances, most often employment, in an objective manner. These tests, which are often performed by a licensed physical therapist, are requested by physicians, insurances carriers or attorneys to assist in closure of a worker’s compensation case or if there is a request for determination of disability benefits. While every Functional Capacity Evaluation is different depending on the person being tested and what information is being requested, tests typically are performed over a 2-4 hour period and may consist of the following elements:
- Informed Consent: Written and oral explanation of what to expect during the course of the examination.
- Pain/Functional Questionnaires: To provide the evaluator with knowledge as to how the person being tested perceives his or her abilities and/or limitations.
- History/Interview: Review of injury/illness, medical treatment provided, current physical status. This portion of testing ends with the evaluator obtaining a baseline heart rate, blood pressure reading and baseline pain rating to ensure safety during physical portions of testing.
- Musculoskeletal Evaluation: Tests of mobility and strength, not just for the area of injury/illness but a screen of other non-injured body parts.
- XRTS Hand Strength Assessment: Grip and pinch strength testing that gives an assessment of the effort of the person being tested.
- XRTS Lifting Assessment: Series of lifting tests to determine how much the person being tested can safely lift on an “occasional” basis.
- Metabolic Endurance Test: Sub-maximal treadmill test to give an indication of cardiovascular fitness/general endurance.
- Frequency Circuit: Circuit of activities designed to determine how much the person being tested can safely lift on a “frequent” basis. May also include job-specific activities if appropriate.
Throughout the evaluation, the heart rate and pain level of the person being tested may be monitored. All information is then compiled in a report and sent the referral source for consideration.