Looking For Reliability In An FCE? Dean Therapy Center Found It

Looking For Reliability In An FCE? Dean Therapy Center Found It

The turn of the millennium ushered in a new functional capacity evaluation (FCE) system for Dean Therapy Center, part of Dean Health Systems, in Madison, Wisconsin. Just as the millennium signifies manís forward progress, so it marked Dean Therapy Centerís move toward reliability and consistency in functional testing.

In January of 2000, Gary Haglund, manager of Dean Therapy Center, and his staff, took stock of the FCE system they were using. Although they purchased a standardized FCE system many years earlier, it had been altered so significantly over time that it was hardly recognizable as an off-shoot of the original method.

This is a common occurrence in clinics that have older FCE systems. Also, older FCE systems are often inflexible in their content and administration procedures. Some philosophies of older FCE systems are thought to be antiquated, and are out of step with current rehabilitation and injury management paradigms.

The staff at Dean found that they had limited confidence in their FCE. Each therapist had individualized ways of administering an FCE. Collectively, they didnít feel that it gave a reliable picture of clients’ abilities. The staff felt bogged down by the extensive paperwork that was required following the completion of each FCE. This was also a time when Dean Therapy Center was adding to its staff. The new millennium had ushered in an atmosphere of advancement. It was time for a change.

Enter the Joule FCE system by Valpar, purchased in March of 2000. Dean Therapy Center found that Joule was constructed to provide flexibility in the form of customizing options for individual protocols and entire FCE plans, as well as options for one, two, and multi-day testing. Kristin Muchian, case manager for Dean Health Systems, states, “The move to Joule has been extremely positive on all fronts. There has been a great staff response to the Joule FCE system from both new and seasoned staff.” There is consensus among the staff that Joule is a “cleaner” method of evaluation than the previous system. When asked to elaborate, Kristin said, “Cleaner because evaluators use streamlined and consistent decision-making methods, cleaner because the focus on function adds clarity to the purpose of the FCE, and of course, cleaner because automated report generation bypasses time consuming dictation and revisions.” The staff likes Jouleís ability to adapt to one day and two-day testing formats. “The on-site FCE training was excellent, and Joule evaluators have been extremely pleased with the responsiveness of Valparís software and technical support teams,” reports Kristin.

Patients also have very positive feedback about Joule. They like the ability to give input, and they appreciate being asked if each task is safe. They feel the evaluation is both fair and thorough.

Kristin Muchian states that feedback from referral sources indicates an increased confidence that Dean is choosing the best format and highest quality evaluation system available for their clients. This ultimately helps Dean Health Systems build better relationships with referral sources.

And looking further out into the new millennium? Dean Therapy Center is now moving ahead with confidence.


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