A functional capacity evaluation is a series of tests, assessments, instruments, and evaluations that allow psychologists and counselors to determine objectively if an individual has the ability to function successfully in a variety of circumstances that would be necessary for gainful employment.

Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE)

An FCE can be conducted for a variety of reasons. One common reason is to establish that the individual cannot, because of a health or mental impairment, find, perform, or retain any meaningful employment and would therefore be considered to have a sufficient impairment to warrant governmental disability assistance. However, an FCE can be conducted for the purpose of planning and designing interventions necessary for effective therapy for this with impairments. Possible rehabilitation treatment can often be designed for such individuals that may be effective at alleviating their discomforts and helping them to be more functionally sound. As well, such therapy or rehabilitation services, if not able to fix the problem, disability, or life impairment outright, may be able to lessen the associated pain, teach coping skills and alternative strategies, and practice procedures that can help those with various difficulties lead more productive, less stressful, and more able-bodied lives in spite of their underlying impairments.

Some typical questions that FCEs seek to answer are:

  • What can the person do right now?
  • What is the individual’s potential for work?
  • Can the person physically/mentally return successfully to their previous job?
  • Could the worker be successful working a light-duty 8 hour day?

The question involved in the FCE will vary depending on if the guiding purpose of the FCE is for employment or rehabilitation purposes.







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