Distraction-Based Testing

Last Updated: May 22, 2018

Definition - What does Distraction-Based Testing mean?

Distraction-based testing is a form of therapeutic intervention in which a patient undergoes a specific treatment modality while being observed for adjunct clinical testing procedures. A therapist administers distraction based testing as a core element incorporated in a functional capacity evaluation (FCE) program. After an individual sustains a work-related injury, an evaluator conducts a battery of tests, isolating clinical exercises to correlate physical limitation findings to expected job demands.

WorkplaceTesting explains Distraction-Based Testing

Distraction-based testing provides therapists with an objective analysis in quantifying a wide number of physical mobility and tolerance concerns including crouching, kneeling, pushing, pulling, reaching, sitting, standing, and walking. An individual may demonstrate strength in one or several areas of mobility, but display marked tolerance issues that prevent the individual from returning to work. The application of distraction-based therapy can be utilized in following either Job Specific FCE or a General Purpose FCE framework to determine whether an individual can be reinstated to a former position, reassigned to a light-load position, or find work with a different employer.

A therapist coordinates the appropriate FCE regimen for the patient based on independent variables associated with the work environment and physical demands. An evaluator may apply distraction-based testing in the form of fine motor coordination skills (finger and hand dexterity) with a trucker, for example, assessing their facility to manipulate control gears and other necessary equipment. In the process, the evaluator observes accompanying requirements linked to their jobs such as postural tolerance for extend periods of time during long hauls.

Technological advances have introduced new remedial treatments for pain management. Virtual reality modalities serve as a form of distraction-based therapy as individuals participate in simulated therapeutic exercises to distract attention from issues such as back pain and other musculoskeletal conditions. However, virtual reality therapy requires further testing to consolidate its use with a traditional rehabilitation program.

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