How to Determine Whether a Patient is Safe to Drive

October 11, 2013

Loyola University Health System has begun a driver rehabilitation program that provides a comprehensive evaluation on whether a patient can safely drive a car.

The program is intended for elderly patients and patients with conditions such as stroke, brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and low vision.

The clinical evaluation takes 1.5 hours. It includes a medical history and tests of the patient’s visual skills, perceptual skills, cognition, reaction time, physical ability and motor function.

A report will be sent to the patient’s physician and shared with the patient and family members. It will recommend whether the patient is:

  • Fit to drive.
  • Should participate in a behind-the-wheel assessment.
  • Is not fit to drive due to significant impairments.

At the end of testing, this delicate issue is discussed in a careful and sensitive way, helping drivers and family members understand the risks and explore other transportation options if needed.

In some cases, driver rehabilitation will recommend adaptations to the car to enable patients to keep driving. Patients also may benefit from follow-up treatments such as occupational therapy or vision care.

When ordered by a physician, driver rehabilitation usually is covered by Medicare and most insurance plans.

The driver rehabilitation program will be conducted by Megan McCullough, OTR/L, DRS, an occupational therapist with training in driver rehabilitation. The evaluations will be conducted at the Loyola Center for Occupational Health, 1219 W. Roosevelt, Maywood, Ill. For more information, call 708-216-5300.

Source: Loyola University Health System

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