Due to one reason or the other, you or your employee may need to assess your ability to deliver on certain tasks at work. This is especially the case after a workplace-related injury or a post-traumatic experience. During such instances when an employee is filing for a personal injury claim, they may require to undertake what is known as a functional capacity evaluation exam. The exam involves a set of tests, procedures, and practices in a combined approach to determine an individual’s ability to function and deliver certain job-related tasks under various circumstances.
Here are 8 things you should know before completing a functional capacity evaluation.
1. Understand what it is
Also referred to as FCE in short form, a functional capacity evaluation is a medical test that is ordered for an injured worker who’s on treatment under a worker’s compensation claim. It is often requested for by a physician, even though employers, lawyers, and insurance companies may under certain circumstance request that an injured employee undertake an FCE.
2. A personal injury lawyer is crucial
Before completing an FCE, it’s always advisable to work with a personal injury or disability attorney for various reasons. For instance, Jeffrey Preszler from Preszler Law says that your performance during a functional capacity exam may not be a good indicator of your ability to perform on the job. For starters, a disability attorney can help to identify as to whether an FCE will be helpful for your claim. They may also help recommend the tests that should be performed during the evaluation and even review the FCE report for any errors, inaccuracies or inconsistencies that may have occurred.
3. The purpose of the FCE
A functional capacity evaluation may have various purposes. For starters, it is completed by an injured worker so that a medical document can be obtained, which objectively outlines what they can and cannot comfortably accomplish when it comes to the job. It is also used by an injured individual when filing for long-term disability. The FCE report may also be helpful to identify any adaptive strategies that can be put in place to facilitate the injured workers return to work.
4. Who performs it
An FCE is performed by a licensed health care provider, who could be a physician, personal trainer, or physical therapist. If you guessed the injured worker requires an appointment to complete the evaluation.
5. The procedure
As mentioned earlier, an FCE involves a combination of several tests, observations, and practices. Before these are performed, the injured worker requires to present their job description document as well as their physical requirements and any other relevant information to the health care provider. Some of the major areas assessed by the process include the following:
- Assessment for injured body parts – the severity of swellings, joint range of motion, muscle strength, etc. are measured.
- Material handling – Performance on lifting, pulling, pushing, and carrying is assessed.
- Positional tolerance – Tolerance levels for walking, sitting, standing, bending, kneeling, squatting, and balance are assessed.
6. How long does it take?
Depending on various circumstances, how long a functional capacity evaluation takes may vary. For instance, it may depend on the severity of the injured worker’s situation as well as the number of tests o observations required to be made by the health care provider. In general, however, most FCE procedures take one to two days on average.
7. It’s important to be truthful
It is important to be as honest as possible during your FCE. Needless to mention, the health care providers conducting the test are highly trained and experienced they can notice symptom exaggeration from a distance. If you’re faking a symptom or overstating your disability, they can easily tell. It is, therefore, important to listen to your body keenly and avoid providing information or feedback that may look as if you’re underestimating your abilities or overstating your injury symptoms. Additionally, it is also important to avoid taking pain medication before your FCE since these might mask certain symptoms and probably lead to inaccuracies in your report.
8. You are entitled to a second opinion
Once you complete your FCE, the final report will contain all the important findings of the evaluation. It is not unusual to feel that the test administrator gave you an unfair impairment rating. If this happens, all is not doom as you can always seek a second opinion. Just work closely with your disability attorney and insurance company to determine who pays for t second evaluation.
And there you have it! It is evident that there are quite a few important things involved as far as completing a functional capacity evaluation is concerned. With the above few pointers in mind, you can confidently approach your FCE, hoping for a fair decision at the end of the procedure.