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South African Journal of Occupational Therapy

On-line version ISSN 2310-3833
Print version ISSN 0038-2337


RAMANO, Enos  and  BUYS, Tania. Occupational therapists' views and perceptions of functional capacity evaluations of employees suffering from major depressive disorders. S. Afr. j. occup. ther. [online]. 2018, vol.48, n.1, pp.9-15. ISSN 2310-3833.

INTRODUCTION: Major depressive disorders (MDD) cause work disability and work loss, often resulting in unemployment. Employees with MDD are often referred to occupational therapists (OTs) to assist with functional capacity evaluation (FCE). Functional Capacity Evaluation forms a part of the return-to-work decision making process. This study describes the views and perceptions of occupational therapists regarding the requirements needed to conduct reliable FCEs of employees suffering from MDD. METHODS: This study employed a descriptive, qualitative study design. Data were collected in three phases using open-ended questions, focus groups and member checking groups. Thematic content data analysis was used. FINDINGS: In total, 78 occupational therapists were recruited and 39 participated, with response rates of (28) 47%, (11) 61% and (9) 82% respectively across the three phases. Nine participants took part in the focus groups and member checking groups. Three themes emerged, namely: (1) occupational therapists' competencies in performing functional capacity evaluations (2) the process of functional capacity evaluation and (3) comprehensive functional capacity evaluation. CONCLUSION: The views and perceptions of occupational therapists of performing FCEs is to formulate return-to-work decisions. Occupational therapists should be competent in the use of standardised measurement tools, non-standardised assessment and clinical reasoning.

Keywords : Major Depressive Disorder; Functional Capacity Evaluation; occupational therapy; return-to-work; vocational rehabilitation.

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