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When Would you Conduct an FCE?

Updated: Feb 20


Part 2 (of 3)


In our last blog, https://www.enableworks.co.nz/post/insights-into-functional-capacity-testing-what-you-need-to-know we introduced the concept of an FCE, what they are best used for and what they include. In this blog, we'll explore the varied use of FCE, examining when it is conducted in response to an injury and when it becomes a proactive measure for injury prevention (something we are passionate about here at

EnableWorks because prevention is always better than cure!).


When would you conduct an FCE? Injury verses injury prevention?

In the occupational health space, the Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) is considered a

fundamental tool for assessing an individual's ability to perform work-related tasks. It plays

an important and helpful role in both injury management and prevention strategies, offering

valuable insights into an individual's physical capabilities and limitations.


I. Conducting an FCE in Response to Injury:


Work Capacity Assessment:


An FCE is commonly conducted after an individual has sustained an injury or illness, especially in the workplace. It helps healthcare professionals and employers understand the extent of the employees limitations and determine the individual's readiness to return to work.


Treatment Planning:


The results of an FCE assist in developing tailored treatment plans and guiding rehabilitation efforts to address specific functional deficits identified during the evaluation. Therapists can design exercises and interventions that target the areas of weakness or limitation, promoting a more effective recovery.


Disability Assessment:

FCE findings often contribute to the determination of disability status, aiding in insurance

processes.

The comprehensive nature of the evaluation provides a well-rounded view of the individual's

capabilities, helping in fair and accurate disability assessments for referrers.


II. Conducting an FCE for Injury Prevention:


Pre-Employment Screening:


Proactive employers may use an FCE as a pre-employment screening tool to match job

demands with an individual's physical abilities, prior to offering employment (this is common

practice overseas).

This preventive approach reduces the risk of injuries by ensuring that employees are

physically capable of handling the tasks associated with their roles and can save employers

time and money in the long run. An employer may have specific high-risk tasks which they

wish to test prior to an employee starting work. EnableWorks can work with your company

assessing these tasks and place them within the tailored FCE/pre-employment screen. At

EnableWorks, we design tailored pre-employment screens based on the FCE assessment

process, and work demands that employers can conduct as part of their pre-employment

screening, or we conduct them for companies.


Pre-employment screens can highlight the need for further assessment as well as the

likelihood of short or long term injuries, and can lead to the development of a self-managed,

or physio assisted, injury prevention or injury management programs to help employees to

prepare themselves for work in specific industries.


Ergonomic Assessments:


FCE’s can be part of a broader strategy to assess and improve your workplace ergonomics.

By understanding the physical demands of various job positions, or environmental elements

employees are exposed to, employers can make informed workplace adjustments to

minimize the risk of musculoskeletal injuries. Upon completion of the assessment,

EnableWorks staff can also assist the employer to implement recommendations as a result

of the FCE assessment.






















Fitness for Work Evaluations:


Periodic FCEs for existing employees can help employers identify any changes in their

physical abilities over time.

This ongoing assessment allows for early intervention and modification of job responsibilities

to accommodate any emerging limitations, reducing the likelihood of injuries. For example,

an employer may have a policy whereby they conduct this sort of assessment for any worker

over the age of 60 to support them to thrive at work as they enter the latter part of their

working life.


The Functional Capacity Evaluation serves a dual purpose in occupational health, acting as

both a reactive measure for managing injuries and a proactive strategy for preventing them.

Whether used in rehabilitation or as part of a broader wellness program, an FCE provides

valuable insights that empower employers and healthcare professionals to make informed

decisions regarding an individual's fitness for work. By conducting FCE’s, organisations can

create safer work environments, enhance employee well-being, and ultimately foster a

culture of injury prevention - all of which sounds great to us!


In our final blog we will present a case study and provide referral information.

Hopefully this is a helpful read - if you have any further questions, please give us a call. Our

friendly team are always here to help.


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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