VALIDATION STUDIES
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Development and validation of a short-form functional capacity evaluation for use in claimants with low back disorders.

OBJECTIVES: Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCE) are used for making return-to-work decisions, yet FCE's modest predictive ability is currently outweighed by the administrative burden of testing. We attempted to develop a short-form FCE while maintaining comparable predictive ability.

METHODS: Three databases previously created for evaluating FCE predictive validity were used. Subjects were compensation claimants with low back disorders. FCE measures included items in the Isernhagen Work Systems' FCE. Days until benefit suspension served as an indicator of return-to-work. Analysis included Cox regression.

RESULTS: Three items, floor-to-waist lift, crouching, and standing, were maintained in the short-form FCE. The short-form FCE was found to predict comparably to the entire FCE protocol in two validation cohorts (R (2) difference<3%). Subjects meeting job demands on all three items consistently experienced faster benefit suspension.

CONCLUSION: A short-form FCE for determining future work status in claimants with low back disorders was developed. A substantially abbreviated FCE may offer an efficient alternative.

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