Using Functional Capacity Evaluations in a UK Setting: Exploring Clients' Perceptions.
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Lebida, J. (2016) Using Functional Capacity Evaluations in a UK Setting: Exploring Clients' Perceptions., no. 104.
Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCEs) promote occupational performance by providing answers to the questions of if and when an absent employee is safe to return to performing their work duties. Despite a recent focus on reducing sickness absence in the United Kingdom (UK), and increased use of FCEs, a comprehensive search of the literature found no evidence of their use in a UK setting. This proposed study will aim to fill this gap in order to ascertain whether there is merit in offering FCEs to clients coming through the Fit for Work Scotland service, as a means of providing objective information to allow employers to make the necessary adjustments to manage their employees back into work. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) will be used to examine the experiences of clients who have participated in an FCE during a period of sickness absence; qualitative methodologies have only been used in a handful of overseas studies. A homogenous sample of 5 clients will be purposively chosen. These NHS employees will: have been absent from work with a musculoskeletal condition; work in a light, medium or heavy job; and have undergone a traditional physical FCE, with the purpose of returning them to work. Three months following their FCE, semi-structured interviews will be conducted by a research assistant. The data will subsequently be analysed by this author, using double hermeneutics, following a step-by-step process which includes reading and re-reading interview transcripts, noting themes, searching for connections across emergent themes and looking for patterns across cases. This will be done systematically and rigorously to demonstrate trustworthiness. Ethical values will continuously guide this research in order to achieve maximum benefit with minimum risk to participants. The results will be shared with stakeholders who have a vested interest in employees' opinions regarding the overall utility of FCEs.