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Anne Byrne, Obair’s Clinical Director was invited to present at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, Faculty of Occupational Medicine’s Spring Conference on the 4th of April 2014.
The focus of the Spring Conference was Fitness for Work, and the title was “Fit for Work? Fit for What?” Topics covered in the conference included:

  • the evidence base,
  • the policy framework,
  • the way forward,
  • challenges,
  • making it work,
  • supporting successful outcomes and
  • the assessment of fitness for work in practise.

Anne was specifically requested to present on “Functional capacity evaluation and vocational rehabilitation in the assessment of and enabling successful fit for work outcomes”.
Anne’s 40 minute presentation considered the title in terms of international experience, practise and the literature and discussed functional capacity evaluation (FCE) in terms of what can be assessed and who can be assessed, and why Job Specific FCE is best suited to occupational health practise.
Anne shared her extensive experience as an occupational therapist working in occupational health in Canada where she helped set up and subsequently managed a highly successful, in terms of rehab and financial outcomes, an award winning employee rehabilitation unit.  Drawing on her experience in Canada and her continued occupational health experience here in the UK, Anne’s main theme was to introduce Job Specific FCE using the Matheson approach to FCE and how it can be effective in objectively determining fitness for work and enable the timely and safe return to work.  Anne discussed the evidence to support Job Specific FCE and what the evaluation entails, illustrating the use of an objective FCE and Job demands Analysis (JDA) to facilitate matching capacity for work to job demands.

Anne used a practical case example to illustrate what information can be gleaned from the evaluation and illustrated how Occupational Health practitioners can use the findings to:

  1. determine fitness for work,
  2. to inform meaningful return to work plans,
  3. to determine the efficacy of current or rehabilitation and
  4. to identify reasonable accommodations.

Anne underlined the value and need for robust assessment in occupational health in order to ensure evidence based practise and to enable successful outcomes in return to work and maintenance at work.

For more information on how you can learn to use job specific functional capacity evaluations in Occupational Health please look at our training pages on our website.