A study of post-acute and long-term care physicians’ has led industry experts to push for recognition of the profession as a specialized medical practice area.

The American Board of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine (ABPLM) commissioned a survey of attending physicians in the industry. Questions were developed by a task force of experts who agreed on practice-related activities relevant across multiple post-acute and LTC care settings. Fully 389 participants responded, describing the tasks, experience and medical knowledge needed in their roles. 

“The results of this job analysis highlight the unique and specific nature of medical care provided by attending physicians across a range of PALTC settings,” corresponding author Laura J. Morton, M.D., of the University of Louisville Health, said.

The findings establish a foundation for recognizing PALTC medicine as a specialized area of medical practice, Morton and co-authors wrote in an article published in JAMDA. The findings could help lead to the formation of a focused practice designation in PALTC — as well as changes in practice and/or policy, they explained.

Medical education should foster these specialty skills, they said. 

“Physicians should undergo an effective educational process to learn the requisite knowledge to perform necessary roles and tasks in this specialized area of medicine,” they argued. “This process should also include training about the settings and systems of care and methods for improved collaboration with the interdisciplinary team to provide person-centered care.”