Physiatrists are experts in the medical and physical treatment of disabling illness and injury, and have long been recognized as uniquely qualified among medical specialists to provide the scientific and medical foundations essential to the development of life care plans.
Physiatry is the medical specialty of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), and physiatrists are medical doctors who have completed specialty residency training in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and who have received board certification by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (ABPMR), one of 24 medical specialty boards that make up the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), the premier credentialing body for physicians specializing in PM&R, one of 24 medical specialty boards that make up the ABMS.
It is no coincidence that Section 1, Chapter 2 of the Life Care Planning and Case Management Handbook is entitled “The Role of the Physiatrist in Life Care Planning”, and it states: “For a Life Care Plan to appropriately provide for all the needs of an individual, the plan must have a strong medical foundation.”
“Physicians specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation (physiatrists) are uniquely qualified to provide a strong medical foundation for life care planning…
…based on their training and experience in providing medical and rehabilitative services to individuals with disabilities. Physiatrists are, by their training, experienced in dealing with individuals who have catastrophic functional problems. Additionally, physiatrists are trained to anticipate the long term needs of their patients.”
A principle reason non-physician, and non-physiatric life care planners seek guidance from physiatrists is many treating physicians specialize within narrow scopes of a subject’s care, and therefore, are not accustomed to fully assessing the total impact of a subject’s injury/illness on his/her overall health and function. Further, treating physicians are commonly unfamiliar with proper life care planning methodology, which is important as it affects proper consideration of all relevant information, which affects the formulation of appropriate diagnostic and rehabilitation conclusions, which constitute proper foundations for future medical and rehabilitation needs.
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