Evaluation of impairment of the upper extremity is the product of a team effort by the physician, occupational therapist, physical therapist, and rehabilitation counselor. A careful recording of the anatomic impairment should be made because this is critical in determining the subsequent functional activities of the extremity. The measurement criteria for clinical and functional evaluation includes condition assessment instruments. Some assess the neurovascular system, others assess movements including the monitoring of articular motion and musculotendinous function. Sensibility assessment instruments measure sympathetic response and detect single joint stimulus, discrimination, quantification, and recognition abilities. A detailed description of each assessment is recorded and physical capacity evaluation is only one component of the entire vocational evaluation. This evaluation answers questions regarding the injured worker's ability to return to his previous job. The work simulator is a useful instrument that allows rehabilitation and testing of the injured upper extremity. Job site evaluation includes assessment criteria for work performance, work behavior, and work environment.
From Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois.