Services / WCB Claims and Disability Management

Functional Capacity Evaluation

Functional Capacity Evaluations typically involves the following components:

  • Review of the client’s medical file by the attending clinician, prior to scheduled testing
  • Review of the Physical Demands Analysis report, if provided, by the attending clinician prior to scheduled testing
  • Client interview
  • Completion of psychometric measures relevant to injury, medical condition, or reason for disability
  • Musculoskeletal and neurological screenin
  • Graded material handling activities
  • Positional tolerance activities
  • Hand dexterity activities
  • Sincerity of effort testing

Understanding the Results

Once all information is gathered, a final report will be provided to the referral source. This report includes:

  • Summary of injury details, current complaints, current and past medical history and treatment provided
  • Vocational status summary
  • Summary of psychometric questionnaires
  • Summary of performance consistency and overall voluntary effort
  • Answers to specific referral source questions
  • Summation of overall functional capabilities
  • Job match information
  • Treatment recommendations (if requested)
  • If applicable, some FCEs will report on the worker’s ability to meet cognitive demands of the job in question.

Certified Technicians

Many of our evaluators have completed university-level coursework with a major in anatomy, physiology, or vocational assessment. At a minimum, all SureHire evaluators have participated in comprehensive Functional Capacity Evaluation training through certified educators such as Matheson Group or Metriks. This training includes data interpretation and case resolution as well as the FCE thought process.


A Functional Capacity Evaluation provides a clear picture of your employees' physical and functional abilities, ensuring they are capable of safely meeting the requirements of their job. Some of the benefits of allowing SureHire to assist with your company's FCE include:

  • Access to our national network – SureHire is able to conduct Functional Capacity Evaluations all across Canada.
  • Standardized reporting template – All clinicians who complete Functional Capacity Evaluations through SureHire submit their finalized report on a standardized Functional Capacity Evaluation report template.
  • Standardized review of reports – All Functional Capacity Evaluation reports are reviewed by an experienced evaluator at SureHire who has extensive knowledge and experience in Functional Capacity Testing prior to submitting their final report to the referral source.


Legal implications of not testing

As it is the employer's responsibility to help protect employee well-being, completing a Functional Capacity Evaluation will ensure that your workers are capable of meeting their job requirements safely, thus mitigating the potential for work-related accidents or injuries. SureHire can help make recommendations of how a specific worker's duties can be modified so that requirements remain within their level of ability.

How it Works

BOOKING

Please contact our Centralized Contact Centre by phone. Appointment confirmation will be provided within 24 hours.

FAQ

WHAT CAPABILITIES DOES AN FCE TEST FOR?

There are 20 separate functions on which work capabilities are evaluated:

  • Lifting
  • Climbing
  • Balancing
  • Stooping
  • Kneeling
  • Crouching
  • Crawling
  • Reaching
  • Pushing/pulling
  • Standing
  • Carrying
  • Talking
  • Hearing
  • Tasting/smelling
  • Near/far acuity
  • Sitting
  • Walking
  • Handling
  • Fingering
  • Feeling

SureHire uses a standardized form across Canada for all FCEs. However, the results included in the final report may vary as the functions evaluated are dependent on the specific job functions required.


WHAT DOES A COGNITIVE FUNCTIONAL CAPACITY EVALUATION INVOLVE?

A Cognitive Functional Capacity Evaluation (CFCE) is similar to an ordinary FCE. However, it also considers certain cognitive, behavioural, and psychosocial factors that are not usually considered during an FCE. A CFCE may be required after an acquired brain injury or the onset of a neurological event or other condition that can affect normal brain functioning (depression, for example).

IS A PHYSICAL DEMANDS ANALYSIS (PDA) REQUIRED?

A physical demands analysis (PDA) quantifies and evaluates all physical and environmental demands of the job, helping establish precisely what a job involves. It’s the cornerstone of the analytical process used to determine compatibility between a worker and a specific job.

It is generally preferable for the FCE to be job-specific and tailored to the position that the candidate would be returning to. Therefore, it is ideal that the evaluator be provided with a PDA for the job position in question prior to completing the Functional Capacity Evaluation.

IS A PHYSICAL DEMANDS ANALYSIS (PDA) REQUIRED?

SureHire's Functional Capacity Evaluation report will

  • Describe the claimant’s appearance, height and weight, attitude and general demeanor during the assessment.
  • Advise if the ability demonstrated during testing is consistent with the reported complaints and/or symptomology (reliability of self-reports) through various psychometric questionnaires.
  • Identify what the candidate’s functional capabilities are.
  • Advise if the observed interview findings and testing process are consistent with each other, the diagnosis, and the medical review.

The Cognitive Functional Capacity Evaluation report will evaluate the overall functional capacity (more specifically, abilities and limitations as well as the integration of the physical, cognitive, behavioral, and psychosocial factors) and make observations on a range of critical factors (pain, fatigue, task persistence, etc.) that influence functioning over time.


Using these tests, the evaluator may formally and practically assess executive functioning—an area that can be challenging to evaluate—using the environment and environmental demands as additional tools to measure performance.

WHAT WILL AN FCE TELL THE EMPLOYER?

Physical effort testing is an integral portion of a Functional Capacity Evaluation, as physical effort during an evaluation affects both the reliability and the validity of the test result. Effort testing gives the reader of the functional evaluation report confidence that the results represent a true picture of the worker’s ability. Reports compromised by less than full effort are read as representing the worker’s minimum ability.

There are several metrics of functional capacity that evaluators take into account during an FCE, many of which are beyond the candidate's direct control. One metric evaluators use is self-reports of pain and disability through the use of psychometric questionnaires (for example: the PACT Spinal Function sort, the Neck Disability Index, pain questionnaires, etc.). However, measures of heart rate, muscle recruiting, stance, speed, pace, and end-range of motion are also taken into account and compared with observation and self-reports. These metrics are considered together to determine the level of effort demonstrated in each test and arrive at an accurate picture of functional capacity.

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF THE CANDIDATE IS MAKING A GENUINE EFFORT?

Physical effort testing is an integral portion of a Functional Capacity Evaluation, as physical effort during an evaluation affects both the reliability and the validity of the test result. Effort testing gives the reader of the functional evaluation report confidence that the results represent a true picture of the worker’s ability. Reports compromised by less than full effort are read as representing the worker’s minimum ability.

There are several metrics of functional capacity that evaluators take into account during an FCE, many of which are beyond the candidate's direct control. One metric evaluators use is self-reports of pain and disability through the use of psychometric questionnaires (for example: the PACT Spinal Function sort, the Neck Disability Index, pain questionnaires, etc.). However, measures of heart rate, muscle recruiting, stance, speed, pace, and end-range of motion are also taken into account and compared with observation and self-reports. These metrics are considered together to determine the level of effort demonstrated in each test and arrive at an accurate picture of functional capacity.

Some employers require potential new hires to complete a Functional Capacity Evaluation prior to employment. Other times, in cases of accident or injury, these evaluations may be required to determine if it is safe for you to return to work and in what capacity. This could be returning to your normal job or type of work or in some other type of work that is better suited to your abilities.

The final report will attempt to give the limits of your physical abilities. For example, the amount of weight you can lift, how frequently you can do physical activity, the length of time you can sit, stand walk, etc. so that you are not put at risk of further injury or prolong your healing process.

What Can I Expect?

When you arrive for your appointment, you will be required to present a valid piece of government-issued photo identification and fill out a consent form. It is also recommended that you bring a list of all current medications, if applicable. As testing lengths may vary, it is strongly recommended that you bring light snacks and beverages to the testing facility and come prepared with running shoes and a comfortable shirt and pair of pants.

During the testing, you will be asked to do a number of basic physical activities such as bending, lifting, crouching, carrying, walking, reaching, hand dexterity testing, and grip strength testing. It is important that you give your full effort during the testing in order for your results to be valid. The evaluator will also measure your weight, height, blood pressure and heart rate.

The doctor, therapist, specialist, or physiotherapist completing your assessment will usually give an opinion on the level of physical work you can do. This is based on a range of job classifications from sedentary to heavy physical demands. He or she will then compare your assessed ability with the requirements of your job. The goal will be to see if there is a match between your assessed physical abilities and the known physical demands of your job or type of work.

HOW TO PREPARE:

  • Wear comfortable clothes: bring running shoes, wear shorts and a t-shirt and any adaptive aids (ie. knee brace) you currently use;
  • Do not change medication regimen prior to testing;
  • Do not use caffeine or cigarettes one hour prior to testing; and
  • Bring a light snack and water bottle as testing lengths vary and make take a few hours.

What Are My Rights?

Functional Capacity Evaluations are meant to keep you safe from exposing your body to strains, pressures, or stresses that are beyond your limitations. An assessment of your job and/or work site can provide important information regarding the physical demands of the job, the physical activities required as well as the psychological demands involved. Recommendations to improve your safety or modifications to accommodate your specific needs can be obtained from this type of assessment.

SureHire uses a standardized form for completing Functional Capacity Evaluations all across Canada and are intended to create an understanding of your physical capabilities while respecting your right to medical privacy. If you have questions regarding your rights to medical privacy related to the information included Functional Capacity Evaluations, please contact your lawyer or provincial human rights commission.

FAQ

WHAT CAPABILITIES DOES AN FCE TEST FOR?

There are 20 separate functions on which work capabilities are evaluated:

  • Lifting
  • Climbing
  • Balancing
  • Stooping
  • Kneeling
  • Crouching
  • Crawling
  • Reaching
  • Pushing/pulling
  • Standing
  • Carrying
  • Talking
  • Hearing
  • Tasting/smelling
  • Near/far acuity
  • Sitting
  • Walking
  • Handling
  • Fingering
  • Feeling

SureHire uses a standardized form across Canada for all FCEs. However, the results included in the final report may vary as the functions evaluated are dependent on the specific job functions required.

WHAT DOES A COGNITIVE FUNCTIONAL CAPACITY EVALUATION INVOLVE?

A Cognitive Functional Capacity Evaluation (CFCE) is similar to an ordinary FCE. However, it also considers certain cognitive, behavioural, and psychosocial factors that are not usually considered during an FCE. A CFCE may be required after a brain injury, the onset of a neurological event, or another condition that can affect normal brain functioning (eg. depression).

IS A PHYSICAL DEMANDS ANALYSIS (PDA) REQUIRED?

A Physical Demands Analysis (PDA) quantifies and evaluates all physical and environmental demands of the job, helping establish precisely what a job involves. It’s the cornerstone of the analytical process used to determine compatibility between a worker and a specific job.

It is generally preferable for the FCE to be job-specific and tailored to the position that the candidate would be returning to. Therefore, it is ideal that the evaluator be provided with a PDA for the job position in question prior to completing the Functional Capacity Evaluation.

WHAT WILL AN FCE TELL MY EMPLOYER?

The Functional Capacity Evaluation report will

  • Describe the claimant’s appearance, height and weight, attitude and general demeanor during the assessment.
  • Advise if the ability demonstrated during testing is consistent with the reported complaints and/or symptomology (reliability of self-reports) through various psychometric questionnaires.
  • Identify what the candidate’s functional capabilities are.
  • Advise if the observed interview findings and testing process are consistent with each other, the diagnosis, and the medical review.

The Cognitive Functional Capacity Evaluation report will evaluate the overall functional capacity (more specifically, abilities and limitations as well as the integration of the physical, cognitive, behavioral, and psychosocial factors) and make observations on a range of critical factors (pain, fatigue, task persistence, etc.) that influence functioning over time.


Using these tests, the evaluator may formally and practically assess executive functioning – an area that can be challenging to evaluate – using the environment and environmental demands as additional tools to measure performance.


HOW CAN THE EVALUATOR TELL IF I AM MAKING A GENUINE EFFORT?

Physical effort testing is an integral portion of a Functional Capacity Evaluation, as physical effort during an evaluation affects both the reliability and the validity of the test result. Effort testing gives the reader of the functional evaluation report confidence that the results represent a true picture of the worker’s ability. Reports compromised by less than full effort are read as representing the worker’s minimum ability.

There are several metrics of functional capacity that evaluators take into account during an FCE, many of which are beyond your direct control. One metric evaluators use is self-reports of pain and disability through the use of psychometric questionnaires (for example: the PACT Spinal Function sort, the Neck Disability Index, pain questionnaires, etc.). However, measures of heart rate, muscle recruiting, stance, speed, pace, and end-range of motion are also taken into account and compared with observation and self-reports. These metrics are considered together to determine the level of effort demonstrated in each test and arrive at an accurate picture of functional capacity. Therefore, it is important to give your best efforts when completing your FCE.

HOW LONG DOES FCE TESTING TAKE?

The duration of the testing is dependent on the referral source, varying from one to two days. Testing may take anywhere from four to eight hours on each testing day. The evaluator is free to shorten or lengthen the evaluation in response to the referral source’s questions and to maximize the predictive validity of the result. Test length will also depend on the referral questions asked, the type of evaluation, and the physical demands level of the target job (heavy or highly repetitive work, etc.). However, it is important to note that the candidate is in control of the test and has the option to stop testing at any time.

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