Key Issue: Stroke Rehabilitation

Significant changes are occurring in the Post-Acute Care (PAC) setting, which are directly impacting physiatrists practicing stroke rehabilitation. Your Academy diligently advocates for appropriate patient care and the roles physiatrists can play in this space.

"The most important point about physiatrists’ role in stroke care is that we have a great deal to offer patients at all levels of care and all phases of recovery and survivorship. As consultants in acute care settings, we start rehabilitation therapies and direct patients to the most appropriate next level of rehabilitation care, we manage medical care and direct rehabilitation programs for inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs), and we provide consultation for rehabilitation issues in skilled nursing facilities SNFs) and long-term acute care (LTAC)."

- Randie Black-Schaffer, MD, MA; Stroke Vertical Planning Committee Chair

Defining Physiatry’s Role in Stroke Rehabilitation

In 2015, your Academy formulated the Stroke Vertical Planning Committee to discuss the role of physiatry in the care of patients suffering from stroke. The committee was made up of physiatric leaders in stroke rehabilitation, including:

  • Randie Black-Schaffer, MD, MA; Chair
  • Joe Burris, MD
  • Steve Flanagan, MD
  • Darryl Kaelin, MD
  • Joel Stein, MD


The committee generated resources documenting appropriate patient pathways of care in stroke rehabilitation. Download and view the resources.

Developing Adult Stroke Rehabilitation Guidelines

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) issued its first guidelines on adult stroke rehabilitation calling for intensive, multidisciplinary treatment. Before leaving the hospital, patients and caregivers should receive a formal falls-prevention program to prevent accidents at home. Whenever possible, initial rehabilitation should take place in an inpatient rehabilitation facility rather than a nursing home.

AAPM&R member Joel Stein, MD, co-chaired the development of this first-ever issued guideline, along with Academy members Barbara Bates, MD, MBA; Richard L. Harvey, MD; and Richard Zorowitz, MD, who served as co-authors. View the AHA/ASA press release for more information. The Academy endorsed these guidelines and is published as an endorsing body in the final guideline publication.

Learn more:

Advocating for Proper Reimbursement

Reimbursement in PAC is changing. Your Academy is closely monitoring the annual reviews and actively engaging in the process, including submitting comments. Click below to view the latest activity.

Members Taking Action

Watch AAPM&R member, Dr. Raghavan, discuss a new device designed to keep stroke patients engaged and motivated during rehabilitation.