An investigation of the inter-rater reliability of the Valpar Joule functional capacity evaluation in healthy adults.
Alexander, Lyndsay Ann
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MITCHELL, D., HANCOCK, E. and ALEXANDER, L., 2016. An investigation of the inter-rater reliability of the Valpar Joule functional capacity evaluation in healthy adults. Work, 53 (2), pp. 337-345.
BACKGROUND:A functional capacity evaluation (FCE) can provide a comprehensive, objective measure of a worker’s ability to meet work demands to support return to work decision making. Research evidence of a FCE’s reliability and validity, involving more than one study, and covering all test components with a diverse range of populations, is essential to ensure confidence in any FCE system. OBJECTIVE:This study aimed to establish the inter-rater reliability of the Valpar Joule FCE functional capacity evaluation (FCE) for which there is currently limited published literature regarding its reliability. METHODS:Twelve healthy subjects were digitally recorded completing the initial protocol of the Valpar Joule. Assessments were rated separately by 3 raters and the results then compared. RESULTS:Using Intraclass Correlation Coefficients (ICC), with percentages of agreement and t-tests to determine bias, inter-rater reliability was high for determining last safe weight lifted for forceful tasks with ICC>0.90. Agreement ranged from 97.2% –100% for determining reasons for terminating tests; 97.2% –98.6% for identifying maximum safe capacity, but was only between 8.3% –50% for full agreement for identification of last weight safely lifted in forceful tasks. Differences were identified between raters with different training and experience for identifying poor body mechanics in lifting. CONCLUSION:Results demonstrated high inter-rater reliability for the Valpar Joule functional capacity evaluation in healthy adults. Further development of criteria identifying poor body mechanics and training in its use is recommended to increase evaluator objectivity.