Reliability and validity of functional capacity evaluations: an update

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Innes, E 2006, 'Reliability and validity of functional capacity evaluations: an update', International Journal of Disability Management , vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 135-148.

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Functional capacity evaluations (FCEs) and other work-related assessments continue to be used in occupational rehabilitation to determine the capacity of injured and disabled workers to either return to their preinjury jobs, or to determine what they are capable of doing in a work context. New instruments have been developed and others refined. There is a continuing call however for these systems to demonstrate acceptable reliability and validity. Comprehensive reviews of reliability and validity of work-related assessments were published and included information up to the end of 1997. This study updates that information by examining research conducted on five FCEs over the subsequent 8-year period (January 1998–March 2006). The Isernhagen Work Systems (IWS) FCE had the most comprehensive coverage of all aspects of reliability and validity, while the Progressive Isoinertial Lifting Evaluation (PILE) was also extensively researched. Newer FCEs show promise and should continue to be investigated. Clinicians and others are encouraged to be informed consumers of the evidence that exists for the reliability and validity of FCEs and other work-related assessments.

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