Functional Abilities Evaluation

What Is a FAE?

Functional Abilities Evaluation FAE is a systematic process of assessing an individual's physical capacities and functional abilities. The FAE matches human performance levels to the demands of a specific job or work activity or occupation. The FAE establishes the physical level of work an individual can perform. The FAE is useful in determining job placement, job accommodation, or return to work after injury or illness. FAE?s can provide objective information regarding functional work ability in the determination of occupational disability status.

What Are the Purposes and Applications of the FAE?

The FAE is a significant tool that can be used to make objective and reliable assessments of the individual's condition. Its precise data format provides information that can be used in various contexts. The FAE may be used:

  • To determine the individual's ability to safely return to work full time or on modified duty
  • To determine if work restrictions, job modifications, or reasonable accommodations are necessary to prevent further injury
  • To determine the extent to which impairments exist, or the degree of physical disability for compensation purposes
  • To predict the potential ability to perform work following acute rehabilitation or a work- hardening/work- conditioning program

What Are the Components of FAE?

The functional capacity evaluation assesses the individual's flexibility, strength, balance, coordination, cardiovascular condition, and body mechanics. An effective FAE determines whether there is a match between the individual's functional capabilities, and the physical demands of work. Typically, an FAE focuses on a job goal rather than on individual aptitudes, interest, and temperaments. The individual's psychosocial behaviors are assessed in relation to appropriate worker traits. There are two types of FAE:

  • Baseline FAE -- An objective assessment of the individual's physical abilities to perform a variety of tasks related to the physical demands of work
  • Job specific FAE - An evaluation of the individual's physical abilities to function within the parameters of an identified job. The job specific FAE is based on critical physical demands of the essential functions of the job. Work simulation activities are often an integral component of the evaluation. FAEs are done on an intensive one-to-one basis and range in length for 4 to 6 hours. The FAE may take place over two consecutive days.

Who Is Qualified to Perform an FAE?

The Certified Kinesiologist practitioner has the unique combination of skills and abilities necessary to assess the physiological, psychophysical, and biomechanical function of the individual engaged in occupation. Occupational therapists also have the observational skills, training, and experience to perform complex task analysis and assessment of environmental factors affecting work performance.