Taking the First Steps towards Returning to Work


As devastating as a disability caused by injury or disease can be, it does not have to mean the permanent end of a career. Today’s therapies and orthopedic devices mean that individuals with serious impairments have a far better chance of returning to careers than they might have had a few decades ago. But feeling better or showing some signs of improvement aren’t truly sufficient in determining whether or not an individual is ready to return to a job. To determine if that individual is going to be able to resume the basic physical demands of that position, he or she will first need to take a Functional Capacity Evaluation Mitchellville.

What Is A Functional Capacity Evaluation?

The purpose of this assessment is to determine to what degree an impaired individual can or cannot perform various types of movements and tasks. This type of assessment is overseen by physical and/or occupational therapists. They will not only be observing the difficulty or ease with which the individual performs assessment activities, but how the individual is doing this. Functional capacity evaluations generally involve a comparison of where the individual is in terms of functional ability at the time of the assessment as opposed to the demands of the position they wish to return to. If impairment has happened as a result of a neurological issue, then therapists may also evaluate possible cognitive changes. Evaluating therapists also consider overall basic daily functioning of the individual as opposed as how it might affect employment. Can the individual now get from his or home to the workplace without undue measures or assistance, for example?

Evaluation Testing

When having a functional capacity evaluation done in Mitchellville, therapists have individuals perform certain skills required at work. Walking, standing, bending, reaching, holding objects, lifting, writing, using electronic devices, etc. are among the most common evaluations. The therapists observe the ease and ability with which these skills are performed. These “performances” are numerically ranked, and compared to the performance level required by the particular position. Evaluations are followed by a therapist’s report on observations, which:

  • Indicates whether or not an individual is ready to return to a work position.
  • If not ready at the time of evaluation, indicates whether or not individual will be able to return in future.
  • Recommends orthopedic or other assistive devices if applicable.

Who Should Have A FCE Done?

Following a long-term injury or serious illness, most employers will require a FCE before allowing an employee to return to work. These tests can also be useful in determining if and what types of temporary or part-time work might be appropriate before returning to a regular position. And if an employee is permanently disabled, a FCE can be very helpful in acquiring Social Security and other disability benefits. This type of testing can also help individuals determine what type of employment might be appropriate if a previous position can’t be returned to, or if certain devices or accessories might be needed to accommodate a disability.

While no one enjoys testing, FCEs shouldn’t be feared. They are always performed with the utmost comfort and safety of the evaluated individual in mind, and can help find the most appropriate outcome following a disability.