Functional Capacity Evaluation

This test is called a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) and will take approximately 2½ to 3 hours to perform.

You will be asked to perform various activities throughout the Evaluation, some of these will be easy for you and some may be quite difficult.

The types of tests may include fitness, endurance, strength, movement, manual handling, repeated movements, or work tasks either actual or simulated.

Some activities will be timed activities and some will be activities where you will keep loading to the point where it may become increasingly difficult to perform the activity. In these cases, you will be asked with each additional load, if you want to continue.

Your role in the evaluation

  • In order to assess your current capabilities you are required to provide a full effort at all times.
  • At various times during this test, you will be asked about any discomfort you may have and it will be recorded using a scale of 0–10.
  • You will also be asked about the effort needed to do this activity using a Perceived Exertion Scale. These results will be recorded and used to collate the final result.
  • You are to relate to the evaluator any changes that you may be experiencing with each activity when the evaluator asks.
  • You may decline to continue with the activity at any time, however, you will be asked the reason for ceasing the activity and your answer will be recorded as part of the evaluation.
  • Each and every activity that you are asked to perform will be explained to you.
  • If you would like further instruction about the task or have a question about the task, please ask.
  • Wear comfortable clothing (like you would wear in a gym!) and sandshoes (no thongs, high heels or bare feet).

The evaluator's role

Every precaution will be taken to ensure that you are protected from any potentially hazardous situation.

  • You will never be required to perform any test that you do not wish to perform. If you decline an activity, you will be asked the reason for ceasing the activity and your answer will be recorded as part of the evaluation.
  • The evaluator is experienced in performing these evaluations and will be monitoring you closely using various observational skills to do this.
  • An activity will be ceased at any time should the evaluator notice any changes that may put you at any increased risk.

There are certain inherent risks in performing an FCE as you will be asked to exert effort, handle weights and perform activities with increasing degrees of difficulty, which could cause an increase in your current level of pain or discomfort. There is also a rare possibility that you could experience a musculoskeletal injury, however the risk is small and you will be able to control any activity by stopping.

By the completion of the test, you will have performed all the major components of your everyday activities with real or simulated work tasks.

All that is asked of you, is that you give your full effort for every test.

Your pain levels are likely to change during testing as well as after testing has been completed. It is also common to have a change in pain level even 1 – 3 days after completion of testing. You will be asked to telephone in your pain rating after 24 hours, to follow up on this part of the testing.

During the evaluation you may pause briefly for a drink – cold water is here for your use. You may find yourself requiring fluids frequently so please drink water as required between activities.