Functional Capacity Evaluations and Assessments

Time: 2:25 Added: 2/4/2009
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Occupational Therapist Jessica Baumgartner explains what a FCA or FCA is and what therapists look for in these evaluations when analyzing patients. Most patients are able to return to work in some capacity.

Contributor(s): Baumgartner, Jessica O.T.R./L.
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Functional Capacity Evaluations and Assessments
Interview with Mrs. Jessica Baumgartner
Interviewed by Raena Morgan
August 11, 2008

Raena Morgan: What does a functional capacity evaluation involve?

Mrs. Jessica Baumgartner: Okay. An FCE—functional capacity evaluation—or and FCA, it’s also called—functional capacity assessment—is basically an assessment we look at the person performing various work tasks over a certain amount of time. So, it is typically composed of physical and functional capacity assessment over a full day. So, it’s a four to eight hour evaluation. And we just look at: can the person perform various work tasks safely. So, if an attorney or a doctor or somebody’s wondering, can a person safely go back to work.

RM: Okay.

JB: We really look at giving them a four to eight hour span of time with us, where we look at the musculoskeletal testing. We look at strength testing. We look at agility and mobility. So, I might look at lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, sitting and standing and walking tolerances, as well as climbing stairs. We look at ladders—climbing ladders. Different types of components that will give us an idea of how do they function. Do they function pretty well? Do they have some deficits? And if so, what are those deficits? A lot of times, they might have balance problems that affect their ability to walk or their ability to climb stairs safely. Do they use assistive devices to help them throughout their day and those types of things? So, it’s a really comprehensive assessment to—

RM: Sounds like it.

JB: Give us a really good idea of how does a person function and what recommendations can we give for a vocational rehabilitation specialist to help them with return to work.

RM: And do most people—are they able to return to work?

JB: Most people are. Most people are.

RM: That’s good to know.

JB: There are cases where they just cannot return because it’s not going to be safe for them. But the vocational rehabilitation specialist, as well as doctors and therapists, we all work together in an interdisciplinary team that we try to determine, what can they do. Because most people can do something. Maybe not return to their previous job, maybe not return fulltime to a job. But they can do something safely and it can be within their limits and something that they’ll do well with.

RM: Thank you.

JB: You’re welcome.

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