Functional capacity evaluations for the prevention of occupational re-injuries in injured workers.

Norashikin Mahmud, Eva Schonstein, Frederieke Schaafsma, Marika M. Lehtola, Jean-Baptiste Fassier, Jos H. Verbeek, Michiel F. Reneman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Functional capacity evaluation (FCE) has been widely used to assess workers' physical state of readiness to return to work (RTW) after an injury and to make recommendations for the time and capacity in which they might return. FCEs are also used to prevent re-injury after RTW. Despite being a commonly used tool, little is known about how effective FCE is in preventing occupational injuries. OBJECTIVES: To assess the effectiveness of FCE-based return to work recommendations in preventing occupational re-injuries of injured workers compared with no intervention or alternative interventions. SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched the following electronic databases: the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (The Cochrane Library 2009, Issue 4), MEDLINE (1966 to December 2009), EMBASE (1980 to December 2009), CINAHL (1980 to December 2009), PsycINFO (1983 to December 2009) and PEDro (1929 to December 2009). The searches were not restricted by date, language or type of publication. SELECTION CRITERIA: We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of FCE-based return to work recommendations for preventing occupational re-injuries in injured workers. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Four authors (NM, ES, JV, ML), in pairs, independently selected studies for inclusion, extracted data and assessed risk of bias. MAIN RESULTS: We found no studies that compared FCE to no intervention. We found one RCT with 372 participants in which a short-form of one FCE was compared to the standard long-form FCE (Isernhagen Work Systems). Outcomes were recurrence rates of re-injuries. There was no significant difference between the two forms of FCE.We rated the overall quality of the evidence as low. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: There is no evidence for or against the effectiveness of FCE compared to no intervention. A short version of FCE showed similar effectiveness to a long version in preventing re-injury. More RCTs are needed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCochrane database of systematic reviews (Online)
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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