The functional capacity (FCE) exam is a full body comprehensive medical test used to measure an employee’s functional capacity and assist in injury management, whether the injury was sustained while at work or existed previously. The FCE test may be used alone to document existing impairments or may be used in combination with the Post-Offer Comprehensive test as a comparison against original, baseline data.
One FCE should be given at the time of injury to determine severity and legitimacy for optimum injury management. Another FCE should be administered during rehabilitation to determine progress, and one functional capacity evaluation should be conducted post-rehabilitation to determine the employee’s ability to return to his or her job.
At the time of injury, when compared against data previously collected, the FCE may be used to prove consistency and validity of performance and create realistic, objective rehabilitation goals, return to work recommendations, or work conditioning programs to capitalize on injury management procedures. This information is invaluable to objectively move the patient through the system in a fair and timely manner.