Functional Abilities Evaluation (FAE)
What is a Functional Abilities Evaluation (FAE)?
A Functional Abilities Evaluation is a specific assessment performed by a Registered Physiotherapist, Occupational therapist, or Kinesiologist to help identify a client’s or employee’s physical work tolerances. Following thorough assessments and measurements, the assessor determines physical impairments and abilities that exist.
By understanding the limitations and restrictions that affect return to work or pre accident status, this measure can help to determine the amount of rehabilitation required and facilitate a timely return to work. Our FAE's can take up to 3-4 hours, and include:
- A detailed medical history and present complaints review.
- An objective clinical assessment: range of motion, strength, endurance, orthopedic and neuromuscular testing.
- Functional testing: aerobic capacity, positional tolerances, lifting and carrying, reaching, bending, twisting, squatting, kneeling, hand use, and other work simulated tasks.
- Comparison to population norms.
The client’s co-operation, and full participation and overall effort are required during functional testing. Any behavior such as pain focused behavior, or other barriers interfering with full performance will be observed, and commented on.
The Employers can request a FAE in the following situations:
- when an objective evaluation is required to make appropriate decisions regarding a client’s functional status and their ability to perform a certain job or specific tasks of an occupation.
- when there is a need to determine if a client is physically able to safely perform regular job tasks.
- when there is a need to determine if the client will benefit from further rehabilitation, such as a work hardening program, active rehabilitation or a personal training program.
- when the employer seeks to find out if the client will benefit from job modifications, temporary job restrictions, and the addition of assistive equipment or aids to be able to perform job tasks in a more safe and efficient manner. This will help the client reach full recovery in a shorter time period.
Examples of Questions and Answers addressed in Functional Abilities Evaluation Reports
Q: Can you describe Mr. Smith’s restrictions and physical limitations with respect to his regular job duties? Please refer to the PDA (Physical Demands Analysis) provided.
A: As observed and measured during the FAE, Mr. Smith demonstrates the following restrictions and limitations with respect to his regular job demands:
- Sitting: 30-45 min, with appropriate modifications
- Standing: periods of 15 min at one time
- Walking: unlimited
- Repetitive reaching at waist and below shoulder level for 10-20 min.
- Repetitive reaching above shoulder level: for 5 min at one time.
- Lifting from waist to shoulder level: 10-15 lbs. on a repetitive basis and up to 30 lbs. on an occasional basis.
- Lifting from floor to shoulder level: less than 10 lbs. on a repetitive basis and up to 15 lbs. on an occasional basis.
- Carrying bilaterally: 10-15 lbs. on a repetitive basis and less than 20 lbs. on an occasional basis.
Q: Are there any specific recommendations with respect to increasing Mr. Smith’s working hours? At present, Mr. Smith is working at 4 hours/day.
A: Mr. Smith would benefit from a gradual return to 8 hours shift (4 hours/day 2 weeks, and 6 hours/day for 2 weeks), to allow the client to continue increasing his spinal and shoulder mobility and strength, therefore to improve the client’s positional tolerances and endurance. This gradual increase of working hours will enhance the client’s healing process, and allow frequent stretches, resting periods, and participation at regular physiotherapy sessions, and given exercise program.