Functional Ability Definiton

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Quick Overview:
Functional ability refers to an individual’s capacity to perform the tasks and activities necessary for their daily living, including work-related tasks. It is often assessed in the context of disability management to determine a person’s level of impairment and their ability to return to work or engage in other activities.

5 Supporting Facts:
1. Assessment Process: Functional ability assessments typically involve a comprehensive evaluation of an individual’s physical, cognitive, and psychological capabilities. This may include medical examinations, functional testing, interviews, and review of medical records.
2. Objective Measurement: The assessment process aims to provide objective measurements of an individual’s functional abilities by using standardized tests and validated tools.
3. Role in Disability Management: Assessing functional ability is crucial in determining appropriate accommodations or modifications required for individuals with disabilities to perform essential job functions effectively.
4. Legal Considerations: In many jurisdictions, employers have a legal duty under human rights legislation to accommodate employees’ disabilities up until the point where it causes undue hardship.
5. Return-to-Work Planning: Functional ability assessments play a vital role in developing personalized return-to-work plans that consider an individual’s limitations and capabilities.


1. What factors are considered when assessing functional abilities?
– Factors such as physical strength, endurance, mobility, dexterity, cognition,
communication skills are taken into account during functional ability

2. Who conducts these assessments?
– Qualified healthcare professionals such as occupational therapists,
physiotherapists or vocational rehabilitation specialists typically conduct
functional ability assessments.

3. How long does a typical assessment take?
– The duration can vary depending on the complexity of the case but generally
ranges from two hours up to a full day.

4. Are there any legal requirements for conducting these assessments?
– Yes, assessors must adhere to privacy laws while ensuring that their methods
comply with relevant employment standards legislation and human rights

5. Can functional ability assessments be used in legal proceedings?
– Yes, the results of these assessments can be used as evidence in legal
proceedings related to disability claims or workplace accommodations.

6. Are there any limitations to functional ability assessments?
– Functional ability assessments may not fully capture an individual’s abilities
and limitations in real-world situations, as they are conducted within a controlled environment.

7. How often should functional ability assessments be conducted?
– The frequency of these assessments depends on various factors such as the nature
of the disability, treatment progress, and changes in job requirements.

Functional ability is a critical consideration in disability management and return-to-work planning. Assessments provide objective measurements of an individual’s capabilities and help determine appropriate accommodations or modifications required for their successful integration into the workforce. Adhering to legal requirements and considering jurisdiction-specific factors is essential when conducting these assessments.