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Insights into Functional Capacity Testing: What You Need to Know

Updated: Feb 12

Part 1 (of 3)


At EnableWorks, we understand the critical role that a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE)

plays in ensuring the seamless integration of individuals into the workforce or aiding in the

rehabilitation process. In this three-part series we delve into the world of FCEs and explore

their significance in promoting a healthy and productive work environment. In part two we

discuss who is the ideal candidate for a FCE assessment. We end the series with a case

study and referral information.




What is an FCE and Who is it Best Used For?


An FCE is a comprehensive, standardised assessment tool designed to determine an

individual's readiness to return to work, guide rehabilitation plans, evaluate pre-employment

fitness and even help employers make informed decisions about workplace modifications for

individuals with disabilities or medical conditions. Essentially, it enables employers, insurers,

and healthcare professionals to make informed decisions about an individuals functional abilities.

The reason for referral varies case by case. Our FCE’s are based on objective research and reputable

scientific resources. We will delve into the finer details of the assessment in our next blog.


What Does an FCE Include?


An FCE typically spans 2-3 hoursand can be conducted either in our

clinic or at your offices for convenience. The evaluation covers a range of assessments, including:

 -Blood pressure monitoring

 -Heart rate monitoring

 -Cardiovascular testing with 3-minute step testing

 -Manual handling at different heights with different weights

 -Testing of static positions (sitting, standing, reaching forward, squatting, bending,

crouching, crawling, reaching overhead)

 -Testing of dynamic positions (walking, climbing stairs or ladders, carrying loads).


Upon completion we provide the referrer with a report detailing the outcomes of the

assessment and are always available to discuss this if required. We recognise that all work

tasks are different which is why we can customize our FCE’s to include specific work tasks

such as ladder climbing, pushing and pulling specific weights, or generic tasks like sitting,

standing, and reaching forward. This flexibility ensures that the evaluation is tailored to the

unique demands of each individual's job or daily activities.


Here at EnableWorks we are dedicated to providing thorough and objective Functional

Capacity Evaluations that empower individuals, employers, and healthcare professionals to

make informed decisions about work readiness and rehabilitation. By utilizing the latest

scientific resources and assessment tools, we contribute to creating healthier, safer, and

more accommodating workplaces. If you're considering an FCE for yourself or your

employees, trust EnableWorks to deliver comprehensive and reliable evaluations that pave

the way for a successful return to work or rehabilitation journey.


Who can conduct an FCE?


Being a standardised assessment tool requires the assessors of the FCE evaluation to be

trained, and certified. The training process requires trainees to participate in online training

which equates 4 days of face-to-face training. In order to remain registered assessors are

required to be assessing clients on a regular basis, entering collected data into a secure

data base which strengthens the validity of the tool (assessment) and provides evidence

base results. Workhab International is one of many FCE programs and is the most

commonly used in Aotearoa / New Zealand.


Only qualified, practicing health professionals such as Physiotherapists and Occupational

Therapists who are trained in the certified programs can conducted FCE assessments.


In Part 2 of this blog series, https://www.enableworks.co.nz/post/when-would-you-conduct-an-fce, we will explore the variety of FCE’s that can be conducted and the difference between conducting an FCE as an injury prevention measure / pre-employment measure verses a post injury assessment tool.


Rhondda is a passionate physiotherapist who has worked across a wide range of services.

Rhondda has worked as a manual physiotherapist, in pain management, in vocational

rehabilitation as a clinician and a manager and canine rehabilitation. Rhondda has a current

FCE license and joined the EnableWorks team in June 2023.

Rhondda can be reached on 022 4319 557 or Rhondda@enableworks.co.nz

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