What does a Functional Capacity Assessment (FCA) entail?

When you’re preparing for an NDIS Functional Capacity Assessment (FCA), you can expect a thorough and personalised process to help you access the NDIS scheme, apply for additional funding, or address changes in your circumstances. You will be working with an Occupational Therapist (OT) who provides quality, holistic evaluation of your needs to help the NDIS understand why and how they can support you.

Here’s a guide on what you can expect during your assessment:

1. Initial Contact: It all begins with the OT receiving a referral and your relevant information. It’s helpful if you can provide as much information as possible in your referral, including previous reports that you think might be relevant. During your first appointment, the OT will explain the purpose of the assessment and obtain your consent to work together.

2. Assessment Planning: Your OT will work with you to schedule assessment appointments and choose the right assessment tools. The assessment will cover areas of daily living familiar to the NDIS like communication, social interaction, learning, mobility, self-care, self-management, social participation, leisure, economic participation, environment, and the level of assistance you require. Tools may include interviews, observations, standardized assessments, and a review of your past health reports.

3. Assessment Process: This is where your OT uses their tools to gather information, considering your physical, cognitive, sensory, and psychosocial domains as well as your home and community environments.  The NDIS wants to understand how well you are able to do daily tasks at home, at work and/or school, and in the community so it’s very important you share as much information with your OT as possible. This will involve discussing personal things including relationships and personal care activities such as showering. The OT’s ability to help you will depend on how transparent you are about yourself. Anything you do disclose will remain confidential. You can also let your therapist know if there are things you feel uncomfortable about or would rather not disclose. Your OT may also involve your support network with your consent.

4. Functional Capacity Evaluation: The OT will evaluate your abilities, strengths, limitations, barriers, and facilitators for participation, while taking into account how your disability and environment impact your daily life and goals.

5. Goals and Support Needs: Together, you’ll discuss your NDIS goals and identify both short and long-term goals. Your OT will also help pinpoint your support needs, which may include assistive devices and other strategies.

6. Report Compilation: Your OT will compile the assessment findings into a structured report, including assessment results and recommendations, as well as other vital information.

7. Recommendations: The report will include recommendations specific to occupational therapy and suggestions for NDIS funding. These recommendations will be closely aligned with your goals and the NDIS criteria for reasonable and necessary support.

8. Review and Finalization: After the Occupational Therapist (OT) completes the report, you and the OT will meet during your next session to review it together. This is the time to address any questions or concerns you may have before finalizing the report. Once it’s finalized, you’ll receive a copy of the report, which will also be shared with any other parties you’ve consented to sharing it with.

It’s important to keep in mind that each assessment is tailored to your unique needs and circumstances. At Umbo, our OTs continuously update their knowledge in line with the latest guidelines and engage in ongoing professional development to offer you the best support.

Remember, the ultimate aim of the NDIS Functional Capacity Assessment is to ensure you receive the support necessary to lead a fulfilling life. This process is a collaborative effort between you, your occupational therapist and your support network, resulting in a comprehensive and accurate report.