What is a Disability Impairment Assessment?
A disability/impairment assessment is an objective evaluation, performed by Atlanta pain physicians, that can help provide a clear and objective view of someone’s health and physical capabilities, or level of disability. This type of assessment is often requested by a patient’s employer, an insurance agency, or an attorney. It helps create an objective report of the extent to which a person’s physical functioning is impaired, and what accommodations they might need.
How Do Atlanta Pain Physicians Perform a Disability/Impairment Assessment?
A disability/impairment assessment is a broad, inclusive assessment that takes into account many different factors. Pain management doctors in Atlanta, GA typically follow a similar process for performing a disability/impairment assessment. To begin the assessment, your doctor will carefully review your medical history. This will include past injuries, diagnoses, family history, and an in-depth interview. After reviewing this history, your doctor will perform a routine physical exam. This will help them to assess your current level of functioning.
Next, the doctor will evaluate the severity of your condition. For example, during an impairment assessment focused on the spine, the doctor will monitor things like range of motion, pain during movement, spinal alignment, and more to determine whether the spine itself is functioning properly. Conditions such as scoliosis, spina bifida, and spinal stenosis will be noted in the assessment.
Once the functional status of the spine has been assessed, your doctor will examine how medical issues affecting your spine affect the rest of your life. For example, does your inability to bend impact your ability to work? Does pain limit your ability to do housework?
The doctor will then compile observations, standardized tests, and other clinical impressions. All of these things combine to form the disability/impairment assessment.
How Long Will the Disability/Impairment Assessment Take?
A spinal disability/impairment assessment is an involved, complex assessment that will vary depending on circumstance. Typically, this assessment can be completed during one 60 minute visit. More time may be needed if you have not already provided past medical history to be reviewed. During the course of the evaluation, your doctor may supplement the assessment with additional standardized tests to get a more complete view of your condition. Extra time may be needed to compile and interpret results.
Which Type of Healthcare Providers Perform Disability/Impairment Assessments?
A disability/impairment assessment will be performed by an MD. Though doctors of several different specialties can perform disability assessments, an MD specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R, also known as physiatry) is likely the most qualified to evaluate a patient’s functional abilities, as well as make recommendations for treatment and accommodations.
Though an MD will lead the assessment, other healthcare providers, such as nurses or physician assistants, may assist or perform some parts of the evaluation. Once all the information has been compiled, the MD will review the assessment, interpret the results, and give a full report.