What You Need to Know When Receiving a Functional Capacity Evaluation

What You Need to Know When Receiving a Functional Capacity Evaluation

Workplace injuries are more common than people realize. Unless you’re particularly informed, you’ll likely find yourself overwhelmed by the information and procedures that follow a workplace injury. Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCEs) are part of the process that comes with a workplace injury and they entail important details.

Unless it’s happened to you, workplace injuries simply don’t feel like that big of a deal. Yet, it’s only when you or someone you care about is dealing with their own workplace injury that the complicated process in managing the medical care and employment comes to the surface. One part of that complex process is receiving your Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE).

If you’re one of the roughly 2.8 million Americans who sustained a workplace injury, you’re likely preparing to undergo your own FCE and have questions about the process. However, there are some crucial facts you need to know before completing your FCE.

What is an FCE?

Let’s start with the basics: an FCE is an exam to assess your level of injury and whether you can return to work or not. The test is specifically requested for those injured and receiving treatment via a workers’ compensation claim.

As such, this test is a crucial step in completing the workers’ compensation claims process and can be ordered by a:

  • Physician
  • Employer
  • Lawyer
  • Insurance adjuster

If you’re preparing to undergo your own FCE, you’re likely wondering what this evaluation truly entails. While this evaluation is comprehensive, it’s also straightforward in many ways.

What Occurs During an FCE?

This test will be completed by a healthcare provider and is typically done at the end of physical therapy treatment but can be completed at any other time the patient ceases their treatment. In some cases, the FCE is completed even if the injured person has received no physical therapy.

An FCE requires roughly one to three hours, depending on various details such as the patient’s level of injury and the location they are being tested at. During that test, your healthcare provider will use different methods to test your physical health and ability to perform tasks related to your job, such as:

  • Squatting/kneeling
  • Pulling/pushing
  • Lifting/reaching/carrying
  • Sitting/standing
  • Walking/crawling
  • Balancing
  • Range of motion
  • Muscle strength
  • Swelling

You may want to obtain a work description of your job from your employer to provide your physician with. You may also be asked a series of questions to clarify the physical requirements of your job.

The objective of an FCE is to create a medical document that will indicate your level of injury and what parts of your job are not appropriate for you to complete while injured. The report is a detailed account that will help you and your employer navigate your return to work, as well as provide the information required to apply for long-term disability support.

What to Know for Completing Your FCE Test

When completing an FCE, there are a few points to keep in mind. It’s important not to take any pain-reducing or functionality improving medicines before your FCE, as this will skew the observations of your healthcare provider and thus possibly change the results of your evaluation.

Equally important is not trying to conceal or push through your pain and difficulty. The point of your FCE is to accurately ascertain the physical challenges you’re facing. As such, an honest depiction of your issues is crucial.

Who Will Attend an FCE Test?

An FCE is completed by a licensed healthcare provider, such as the experts at MidAmerica Orthopaedics. The appointment for your FCE will consist of you—the injured worker—and your healthcare provider.

Since family and friends aren’t able to sit in on your appointment, it’s best to come alone at a time that works for you. Finding a great healthcare facility that works with your schedule can help make receiving your FCE an easy and stress-free process.

Where to Take an FCE Test

If you’re feeling apprehensive about competing your FCE, don’t worry. Many people feel nervous about such a medical assessment and how it might impact their lives. Be sure to choose a facility you can trust to perform your FCE and help reduce your anxiety.

Experiencing a workplace injury is already stressful enough—let our Certified Functional Capacity Evaluators at MidAmerica Orthopaedics make your experience as simple and pleasant as possible. Contact us at (708) 237-7200 to learn more or schedule an appointment.

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