If you’ve suffered an injury on the job that leaves you unable to work, you’re probably counting down the days until you can get back to earning a paycheck. But how do you know if you’re physically capable of handling the requirements of your job if you’re still dealing with the effects of the injury? That’s where a functional capacity evaluation comes in. We explain what they are and how they are conducted in the wake of a Minnesota work injury in today’s blog.
What Is An FCE?
A functional capacity evaluation is conducted to determine the employee’s physical readiness to return to the demands of their job, or to measure any physical limitations that would need to be accounted for upon their return or as they are trained for a new position. The evaluation is a comprehensive series of tests that is performed by a physical or occupational therapist who has a specialized background in functional capacity exams. They will conduct a series of physical and manipulation exercises to measure a number of different factors, including:
- Body mechanics
- Range of motion
- Ability to perform simulated job functions
You might be thinking that while it’s important to understand your strengths and deficiencies, every job is different, so how can a standardized test really gauge my ability to return to work? That’s why there are two forms of FCEs – a job-specific FCE and a general purpose FCE. With a job-specific FCE, your therapist will get a detailed job description prior to testing the injured party in a way that aligns with the requirements of their job. The FCE evaluator may also visit the job site and view employees in the same line of duty to get a better understanding of the job requirements. In a generalized FCE, the therapist will measure the employee’s strength and balance using a standardized abilities test.
A general test typically takes less time to complete, but both tests can take a few hours or even be completed over the course of multiple visits. At the outset, you will meet with your therapist and go through an interview process to learn more about your job, your injury and related subjects. Afterwards, you’ll be asked to complete a series of physical tests or movements in order to develop an FCE baseline.
Finally, it’s worth noting that it is in your best interests to do as well as you can during these tests. You might think that if you perform poorly that you’ll be able to get a larger injury award, but FCE therapists are trained to spot manipulation and may try several different tests to measure the same abilities, so they may see through the ruse and this can tank your injury claim. Do your best, get a true injury baseline and then let us go to work securing your workers’ compensation award.
For questions about your FCE or if you believe you need to undergo an evaluation and aren’t sure how to schedule one, contact Hey Workers today to let us help you with your case.