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103: Best Practices for Functional Capacity Evaluation to Promote Return to Work with the Same Employer


This presentation will discuss best practices for functional capacity evaluations (FCE) to promote return to work with the same employer. Accurate functional job descriptions and job-specific functional capacity evaluations are assessment tools that assist employers with management of workers with job performance difficulties after work-related or personal health conditions. The presenters will review evidence-based practices and case scenarios for FCE's to support workplace interventions for accommodations and ergonomic equipment to improve job retainment. Additionally, they will explain how to apply new ORS factors and duration scales to match worker capacities to job demands.

learning objectives

  1. Identify common issues in functional job descriptions that contribute to confusion about job match and delayed return to work.
  2. Apply new ORS physical demand factors and scales for duration and strength definitions when reviewing FCE reports.
  3. Apply a strategic approach to the design of a RTW plan that includes accommodations, assistive technology and ergonomic equipment to improve job retention.
  4. Determine key factors for delineating between essential versus marginal job functions and how accommodations and equipment can provide the appropriate level of support, and obtaining employer buy in.


  • Laura Frailey, MRC, CRC, CVE, IPEC

    Laura Frailey has worked as a CRC for 25 years. She started her vocational rehabilitation career working with individuals with intellectual disabilities before working as a vocational provider and vocational coordinator for Ohio BWC.

    Ms. Frailey started her own business in 2019 providing vocational case management, vocational assessments, evaluations, career counseling and job placement services for Ohio’s state VR and BWC systems. She recently expanded her practice to include Social Security Expert Witness and Forensic Vocational Expert testimony. She has presented to the Workers’ Compensation Section of the Toledo Bar Association. Ms. Frailey serves as a mentor to new vocational rehabilitation counselors entering the field.

    Ms. Frailey is active within IARP currently serving as Secretary for Rehabilitation Disability Case Management Section and past President of the Michigan Chapter of IARP.

  • Dr. Rick Wickstrom, PT, DPT CPE, CME

    Rick Wickstrom, PT, DPT, CPE, CME is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, Certified Professional Ergonomist and Certified Medical Examiner. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Physical Therapy from the Ohio State University, completed graduate coursework in Occupational Ergonomics at the University of Cincinnati, and obtained his clinical Doctorate in Physical Therapy at Alabama State University. As President and owner of Workability Systems, Inc. and WorkerFIT, Dr. Wickstrom has consulted in occupational health and ergonomics for over 30 years. He has published many articles and technical papers related to functional capacity evaluation, work disability prevention and ergonomics. He regularly testifies as an expert on matters concerning physical disability, fitness-for-duty, and job accommodation. His diverse clinical practice includes transitional work-site therapy, functional capacity evaluation, worker accommodation studies, ergonomic job analysis, development of worker fitness screening and transitional work programs, software development, research, and training. He served as lead editor of the 2008 APTA Guideline “Evaluating Functional Capacity” and assisted with the 2011 APTA Guideline “Advanced Work Rehabilitation Programs”. Rick’s current volunteer service includes President of the Occupational Health SIG of the American Physical Therapy Association from 2020 to present, Secretary on the Board of the Ohio Chapter of IARP, and Legislative Committee Member of the Ohio APTA Chapter. He has a passion for evidence-based practice related to functional capacity evaluation. His current research includes a clinical research project to study reliability and validity for an abbreviated musculoskeletal movement exam to facilitate patient transitions from physical therapy to individualized wellness programs.

May 31, 2024
Fri 10:00 AM CDT

Duration 1H 30M

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