When doing Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCE) some clinicians and FCE vendors pull a bit of a testing protocol from here and a bit of another from there, slap it together and call it a defensible, functional test. While that might get the job done, is it an accurate test? And what makes a test accurate anyway?
An FCE is not an easy assessment to perform. The evaluator is assessing complex movement patterns that occur over a matter of seconds. Each task is evaluated for a brief period and then the patient’s abilities must be extrapolated to the 8-hour day. The secret to making those extrapolations accurately and performing a defensible FCE is using a system that is well-designed.
How do I unravel the secrets and find an FCE that is well-designed and evidence-based?
Features to look for…
I can’t tell you how many times, when I’ve recommended a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) or a Return-to-Work Physical Abilities Test, the question is raised:
Ever wonder if the work comp patient that you’re discharging is really capable of returning to work? Does he/she have the physical abilities to do the job?
Or have you ever felt the physician was holding the patient out of work too long or sending them back to early?
Champion your industrial athletes!
Industrial athletes are often seen as the underdog of the PT world.
The work comp system can be confusing and frustrating to deal with – if you don’t fully understand how it works. The stakeholders and processes are different than for patients insured with private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid.
After you wrap up your outpatient therapy, does the patient still have MD restrictions that prevent return to work? Maybe you’re at a loss for what to do next because the patient’s gained full range and normal strength.
Have you ever disagreed with a return to work decision on one of your workers' compensation patients but felt powerless to influence the decision? What if you had done a Return-to-Work (RTW) screen or mini-FCE as part of your standard discharge evaluation? Could that have made a difference?
Sink or Swim Just as the Great Depression hit businesses hard, the “Great Pandemic” is shaping up to be a sink or swim period for many companies. Most physical therapy clinics have taken quite a hit during the COVID19 shutdowns and restrictions. As more and more clinics share their stories with us, we are seeing a trend emerge. About 20% of clinics are already swimming and bouncing back. Another 20% are sinking. They have chosen to stick their head in the sand, waiting for the problem to go away. Still the majority, about 60% of clinics, are just stuck. They want to find a solution and get business back on track, but they just don’t know what to do. These clinics are treading water, barely keeping their heads up, looking for a lifeline. Where does your clinic fall?