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What should I expect during my Functional Capacity Evaluation

Information provided on the blog is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or offer treatment plans.

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.

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