What is a Physiatrist?

Physiatrists are physicians who specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R), a medical specialty that deals with the evaluation and treatment of patients whose functional abilities have been impaired.

The disabilities and impairments may result from injuries or diseases such as stroke, neuromuscular disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, cardiopulmonary diseases, arthritis and others. The physiatrist can help to improve a person's functional capabilities by medical treatment and organizing and integrating a program of rehabilitation therapy such as physical, occupational, speech therapies, psychological, social nursing, prosthetic, orthotic, engineering and vocational services.

Physiatrists usually work closely with geriatricians, rheumatologists, neurologists, hospitalists, surgeons and others.  PM&R has become one of the most competitive specialities for residency training.  It is a 5-year post-graduate training program.

Also check this link here from the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation :

How does a physiatrist contribute to acute care?

Physiatrists are best used early in the acute care episode, preferably within the first 3 days, or minimally in the first week after admission.  When consulted early on they can:

How does a physiatrist contribute to post-acute care?

Physiatrists are typically consultants in post-acute care settings.  At inpatient rehabilitation settings across Ontario they work closely with hospitalists and other consultants to:

Author *2018 LRR


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Finding a Physiatrist

Getting an appointment with a physiatrist requires a referral from your family physician, who is best suited to determine your need for this type of specialist. If you would like to research physiatrists in your area, you may contact the College of Physicians and Surgeons of your province for a list of specialists in physical medicine and rehabilitation (physiatrists). Physicians will be listed as they must obtain a license to practice in a province from the Provincial Colleges.