What To Expect During Your FCE
The Functional Capacity Evaluation is an assessment of your physical capabilities throughout a work day. As such, it is important to understand what to expect going in.
How Long Does an FCE Take?
The FCE is generally given over 1 or 2 days. For each day of your evaluation, you should expect to spend the whole day at the facility. Most disability attorneys will recommend that you take a 2-day exam. The 2-day evaluation will be much more effective in informing your facilitator of your capacity for activity over a sustained period. It also allows them to compare a decrease in functional ability over the 2 days. Overall, this helps insurers see why you can not sustain functional ability over a work week.
What Should I Wear?
The FCE is a series of physical tasks, so you should wear comfortable clothes that do not restrict mobility. Wear comfortable sneakers, casual pants, and casual clothing. Be sure to wear layers so you can be comfortable throughout the process.
Arranging for A Ride to Your FCE
It is suggested that most individuals arrange for a ride to/from their test. Many people experience an increase in pain, fatigue, and other symptoms after an FCE. So, for your safety, someone else should drive you if possible.
What Should I Bring with Me to An FCE?
Bring any medications you take, as well as any assistive devices you use (such as glasses, a cane, or a brace). Your attorney should provide your medical records and additional occupational info to the evaluator. All of this information will help the evaluator create a more thorough assessment of your disability.
What Kinds of Tests are Involved in a Functional Capacity Evaluation?
The tasks you will be performing during your FCE will test several parameters to get a general sense of your physical capabilities. These capabilities include, but are not limited to:
- Ability to sit, stand, or walk
- Lifting and carrying capabilities
- Range of motion
- fatigue levels
- Posture intolerances
- Overall physical strength
- And your ability to perform fine manipulations.
The tests will be performed through a series of machines, tools, and maneuvers to test your physical abilities and limitations. Generally, the second day of testing will be similar to the first, with many of the tests repeating. This helps the evaluator see a difference in your ability to perform the tasks across multiple days, and the overall toll they take. Click here to see an example of what an FCE may test for.
Will the Evaluator Question me About my Disabilities?
Yes. Your evaluator will likely question you about your injury, symptoms, and your complaints. These questions will help them get a better understanding of your condition. The more info they have, the more accurate their report can be.
Observations During the FCE
The evaluator is there to make observations and ensure that you are putting in as much effort as possible to the tests. But, they are also there to note your pain response and the limitations of your movements. They can use these observations to make their conclusion about the reliability of your results.
Be sure to communicate with your evaluator any additional pain or worsening symptoms during testing. If you experience pain, dizziness, or fatigue, during the FCE, you must let them know. This is vital to your safety, and the accuracy of the test. The evaluator can then note which motions and tasks caused an increase in your symptoms. They may also stop certain tasks if they feel that you are unable to perform them.
If you feel that you are physically unable to perform a test, tell the instructor and await further instruction. You shouldn’t attempt to complete a task if you feel that doing so would jeopardize your health and safety. The evaluator may omit tests you aren’t able to perform. However, you should try to complete tasks if possible, as they help provide an accurate depiction of your limitations.
If You are Taking a 2-Day Functional Capacity Evaluation
You are likely to experience pain and fatigue after the first day of testing. When you show up on the second testing day, be sure to communicate your symptoms with your evaluator. The level of pain and fatigue you experience should be well documented for the second day of testing. The evaluator may also adjust your tests for the second day based on your report.
Should I Take a Functional Capacity Evaluation if I am Recovering From Surgery or in Rehabilitative Therapy?
You should most likely not do an FCE if you are currently recovering from surgery or engaged in a rehabilitative program. They may skew the results of your evaluation. Communicate any of these circumstances to your evaluator before scheduling.
Additional Testing: Neuropsychological Evaluations
While a Functional Capacity Evaluation tests for physical capabilities and limits, a Neuropsychological Evaluation reviews your mental and cognitive capabilities. It is the best way to measure the severity of cognitive and psychological long-term disabilities. The tests help provide a detailed and objective analysis of your cognitive symptoms. This can be essential to building your disability case. Discuss with your disability attorney to see if a neuropsychological evaluation can help build your case.