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How a Physiatrist Enhances the Quality of Rehabilitation

You may interact with a number of healthcare specialists in a team rehabilitation setting, including occupational therapists, speech therapists, primary care physicians, dietitians, and physiatrists. At most skilled nursing and long-term care facilities, rehabilitation services are generally provided by either a physical therapist (for lower extremities) or an occupational therapist (for upper extremities). However, at Marquis, we will bring a physiatrist into your rehab care when appropriate and available to guide the individual specialists assisting you.

Therapists execute your rehab with attention and care, while the role of the physiatrist includes designing, coordinating, and managing that care according to your assessment. In other words, having a rehab physiatrist at the head of your plan means having an M.D.-level of program oversight. Physiatrists are qualified physicians who specialize in rehab care and have undergone four years of residency in addition to their four years of formal training in physical and rehabilitation medicine.

Having someone who can truly focus on your functional health allows for more personalized care. Because physiatrists are trained as physicians, they can cater to a broader range of health needs than traditional therapists. Whether your goal is to feel comfortable kneeling in the garden or to get back to running marathons, your physiatrist will know how to help you achieve it.

What Does a Physiatrist Treat?

Physiatrists may not personally treat you like a physical therapist would, but they will cater your treatment to your needs. Generally, the role of a physiatrist includes:

  • Determining the type of therapy you need
  • Assigning physical, personal therapists, or both to your treatment and clarifying the roles of each
  • Modifying programs per your progress and tolerance
  • Helping with appropriate assistive devices upon discharge
  • Coordinating continued therapy at home when needed
  • Ensuring your adherence to medications
  • Diagnosing and managing comorbid conditions (including depression, diabetes, etc.)