Functional Capacity Evaluation

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A Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) is a “systematic method of measuring an individual’s ability to perform meaningful tasks on a safe and dependable basis” (Matheson, 1996). It is most often used as an objective measure of an individual’s physical capacity to perform work tasks and to establish which tasks they can perform safely, assist with return to work planning and providing objective information to inform career redirection decision-making.  

FCE’s can offer objective answers to questions such as: 
  • Is this individual fit to return to work? 
  • What duties can the individual perform safely at work? 
  • What alternative roles is the individual able to perform?  
  • Is the individual ever likely to return to work? 
RTW Plus utilises the Matheson FCE System, which is the only FCE system based on an evaluation philosophy. Rather than apply a rigid set of tests to all clients, the Matheson approach enables skilled assessors to identify which questions and standardised tests and tools to apply for each assessment, enabling specific questions to be answered and simulation of real-world task performance. Tests and tools applied as part of the FCE have a high degree of validity and reliability. 

The FCE assessment usually takes place over the course of a day and involves the client undertaking a clinical interview and being asked to perform various physical tasks, such as lifting, bending and hand dexterity tasks which are observed and measured. After the assessment, the assessor will prepare an extensive report outlining the findings, answers to any specific referral questions and their future recommendations.  

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