Subspecialty Training: Hospice and Palliative Medicine

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2020 Jun 10. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000001489. Online ahead of print.


Physiatrists care for patients and families with complex medical needs, and primary palliative care is an important part of the comprehensive rehabilitation care plan. Palliative care improves patient and family quality of life and reduces healthcare costs. Clinical care guidelines for several physiatry patient populations now include the provision of palliative care.Current Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) physiatry residency program requirements include foundational palliative care skills. Similarly, current clinical palliative care practice guidelines enumerate standards that apply to the rehabilitation setting. However, there is a dearth of literature on the current state of palliative care training within physiatry programs, and hospice and palliative medicine (HPM) remains one of the least subscribed physiatry subspecialties.In this paper, we describe palliative care, highlight existing literature on palliative care needs within physiatry patient populations, and identify a core physiatry-palliative care skillset. We look both within physiatry and across other specialties to guide recommendations for palliative care education within physiatry residency programs. We also describe opportunities for post-residency fellowship training in HPM.