Are Functional Capacity Evaluations helpful when trying to understand ramifications of Psychological or Cognitive Impairments?

This is a welcome question as it illuminates the breadth of utility of the FCE process and the scope of clinical reasoning our therapists employ. Any impairment, whether it be physically limiting or not, may have influence on functional abilities. As such the functional testing process is useful to determine, via a functional context, whether the impairment continues to produce limitations specific to the demands on the individual. Job demands involve physical, cognitive, social, and psychological attributes. When they are presented in a functional context the examiner can measure outcomes and determine whether functions are limited, and in what domain they are limited. Our functional testing process can include both clinic and community evaluation, thus examining all domains where function is required.

Why do I need such a lengthy Evaluation and why do I need a Therapist to perform it?

The individuals we assess and their specific functional demands are unique and complex. This requires lengthy investment by our therapists to understand and assess such. We typically perform 1 or 2 day evaluations to understand functions and the durability of such over lengthy periods of time. When performing a 1 day evaluation we typically require at least 8 hours to assess and understand the client. This enables the therapist to form opinions regarding the client’s ability to return to full or part time work activity. If we perform 2 day evaluations they typically involve an 8 hour assessment length on the first day and 3-8 hours of assessment time the following day.

Re: Function employs the services of Occupational Therapists or Physical Therapists as these clinicians are recognized as health care professionals. They are para-medically trained at universities and are exposed to a variety of health care environments. We feel our clients require the consideration of experienced therapists that understand impairments and the rehabilitation processes involved in such. Our clinicians have regulating colleges that ensure standards of training. This provides such clinicians with ability and accountability for autonomous clinical decision making.

How do Functional Capacity Evaluations differ from Vocational Assessments?

Vocational assessments typically measure interests, aptitudes, and educational potential of an individual and use information from both medical personnel and functional capacity evaluations to determine suitable vocational options for an injured worker. As such, the functional capacity evaluation is a valuable tool for vocational rehabilitation counselors as it assists them in understanding what types of job demands the client is able to do and which ones are no longer possible. This serves to either narrow or open the field of available vocational options.

Can I use the same therapist to perform both a FCE and a Cost of Care Analysis?

We feel the foundation of effective and realistic opinions regarding an individual’s ability to perform work or activities of daily living is functional testing. The objectivity of this process is helpful. As such, we recommend the use of a clinician who is an expert in assessing functional abilities and limitations when determining possible cost of care needs related to functional limitations of their impairments. Our occupational therapists have the skills and experience to combine functional testing process with cost of care analysis to provide realistic opinions regarding ongoing care needs.