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Do Psychologists do Functional Capacity Assessments (FCAs)?
I have been undertaking FCA’s for nearly 30 years. Initially for injured workers and later for clients in the NDIS. As part of my study, I completed a major in Biology (3 years) and have worked closely with physiotherapists for 30 years, so I'm well placed to complete FCAs.
Most of our clients have psychological or psychosocial issues but some also have concurrent physical problems causing persistent pain (one of my areas of expertise) and other chronic health conditions leading to functional limitations.
In the last few years, Occupational Therapists have moved into the area of mental health, but governing bodies and other professionals don’t often accept that Psychologists can also undertake many assessments previously thought to be OT related. In fact, Psychologists are in the best position to provide you with an FCA for people whose primary disability is a psychiatric/psychosocial condition, as well as those with co-occurring physical disabilities.
The NDIA recognises that professionals who are approved to complete Functional Capacity Assessments include, but may not be limited to:
- Occupational Therapists.
- Developmental Educators.
Paragon PsychConnect have Psychologists who are trained and experienced in conducting Functional Capacity Assessments and using the countless assessment tools to assess capacity. Our completed assessments have led to excellent outcomes with many Participants who benefitted from NDIS plans which more accurately provided for their needs, thanks to the comprehensive assessments we were able to complete (we are happy to send you a de-identified FCA report).
Nevertheless, the misnomer continues that the NDIA only accepts FCAs from OTs.
I recently had a discussion with a new support coordinator of a client on the NDIA (Paranoid Schizophrenia). Her go to was to call in an OT instead of utilising me – a psychologist with 30 years’ experience in mental health and how this impacts function. The family and client requested that I complete the assessment given that I also knew the client well.
So, if you have a client with a plan in the NDIA that is psychosocial, or even a client who has a physical plan but is displaying psychosocial functional limitations, and requires support in performing daily tasks, think of a psychologist as the “go to professional” for their FCA.
The assessment will help them to gain a clearer understanding of their functional abilities, limitations, and empower them to make informed decisions about the support they need to achieve their goals.
We are also able to undertake specific assessments for ASD, Support Dog Assessments, and SIL housing from a psychosocial perspective.
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