Define Physical Functional Ability

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Quick Overview:
Physical functional ability refers to an individual’s capacity to perform physical tasks and activities. It encompasses various aspects such as strength, flexibility, coordination, endurance, and balance. Assessing physical functional ability is crucial in disability management as it helps determine the extent of limitations or restrictions a person may have due to a medical condition or injury.

Supporting Facts:
1. Objective Measurement: Physical functional ability can be objectively measured through standardized tests and assessments that evaluate specific physical abilities like lifting, carrying, reaching, bending, etc.
2. Impact on Work: An individual’s physical functional ability directly affects their capability to perform job-related tasks effectively and safely.
3. Rehabilitation Focus: Disability management programs often focus on improving an individual’s physical functional ability through rehabilitation interventions tailored to their specific needs.
4. Accommodation Considerations: Employers need to consider an employee’s physical functional abilities when making workplace accommodations for individuals with disabilities.
5. Legal Relevance: In legal cases related to disability claims or workplace injuries, assessing physical functional ability plays a crucial role in determining compensation and appropriate support measures.


1. What factors are considered when assessing an individual’s physical functional ability?
– Factors considered include range of motion, muscle strength/endurance/flexibility/balance,
sensory perception (vision/hearing), cardiovascular fitness level, stamina/energy levels,
pain tolerance/management capabilities.

2. Who conducts assessments of physical functional abilities?
– Qualified healthcare professionals such as occupational therapists or physiotherapists
typically conduct these assessments using standardized tools and protocols.

3. How is the information gathered during assessment used in disability management?
– The information gathered helps identify any limitations/restrictions affecting work-related
activities/tasks and assists in developing suitable accommodation plans/rehabilitation goals.

4. Can improvements be made in an individual’s physical functional abilities over time?
– Yes! Through targeted interventions like exercise programs, physical therapy, and
rehabilitation, individuals can improve their physical functional abilities to varying degrees.

5. Are there any legal requirements for employers regarding physical functional ability assessments?
– Depending on the jurisdiction, employers may have obligations under disability legislation or
workplace health and safety regulations to assess an employee’s physical functional ability in
certain situations (e.g., return-to-work planning after a work-related injury).

6. How often should an individual’s physical functional ability be reassessed?
– Reassessment frequency varies based on factors such as the nature of the medical condition,
treatment progress, or changes in job demands. Generally, periodic reassessments are done to
track improvements or identify new limitations.

7. Can an individual with permanent disabilities still have a measurable physical functional ability?
– Yes! Even individuals with permanent disabilities can have measurable physical functional
abilities that help determine their capabilities and potential accommodations/support needed.

Physical functional ability is a crucial aspect of disability management as it helps evaluate an individual’s capacity to perform tasks related to employment. Assessing this ability involves objective measurements conducted by qualified healthcare professionals. The information gathered from these assessments assists in developing appropriate accommodation plans and rehabilitation goals while considering legal obligations and ensuring fair compensation measures when necessary.