As a medical professional, you're expected to know the answers to a lot (everything?). We often hear from our referring physicians that the questions on driving are simply beyond their expertise. Even though you are qualified to make a medical determination, sending your patients for a professional driving evaluation will give them very specific answers about their future behind the wheel. Here are 5 reasons you should refer your patients with driving questions or concerns to a Driver Rehab program.
1.) Getting Behind the Wheel Matters
In some obvious cases, you can gauge your clients' ability to drive from an exam room. However, when it isn't clear, you can't reliably diagnose driving from an exam room. With driver rehab, Occupational Therapists are watching driving behavior where it matters: on the road. We put clients into our dual-controlled evaluation vehicles that can be adapted for every disability.
2.) Thorough Driving Assessments Take Time
When we evaluate someone's driving, it takes 2 hours. We are checking and testing cognitive, physical and visual abilities. We are testing speed control, lane positioning, decision making, awareness and defensive driving skills. In order to get a real view of someone's ability to safely drive, we look at them in a variety of conditions and situations. The evaluations will lead to a thorough written report with observations, outcomes and next steps.
3.) You Aren't the Bad Guy
You likely have built deep relationships with your patients, and asking them to retire from driving can be as hard as their own family asking them to turn over the keys. Referring to driver rehab allows us as the driving experts to make the recommendations for you. Following an evaluation, the client and referring physician will receive a written assessment of driving next steps. In some cases, that includes the recommendation to hang up the keys, along with how to successfully retire from driving without sacrificing independence. And in many cases, we can find ways for clients to keep on driving safely after our evaluations. Which brings us to...
4.) It isn't as simple as "When can I drive again?"
We see clients from across the field of medicine. From strokes, to spinal cord injuries to geriatric patients with memory loss, no 2 diagnoses are the same. In nearly every case, our driving assessments reveal findings that help someone gain a deep understanding of what driving means in their new health conditions. We may determine day time only, no highway, remaining in a proximity to home, or even adaptive equipment will make it possible to continue driving. A thorough driving assessment can help determine specific acceptable driving behaviors, or can determine needed therapies/medical care to get back behind the wheel.
5.) Liability Matters
When you send a patient for a driving assessment, we now own that client liability. Pretend a patient asks you if they can drive after a stroke. You say sure and the next day they have an accident and injure another driver. It won't take a personal injury attorney long to call on your malpractice insurance policy. We don't want to incite fear, but recognize that all healthcare professionals are mindful of unnecessary medical liability.
Driver Rehab is a service you can utilize to get thorough and accurate answers to the question "When can I drive?" We can see your patients in CT, MA and RI within one week and can give them the answers they're looking for promptly. We can fit and prescribe for adaptive equipment, work with elderly clients to understand their new driving needs, work with Autistic new drivers to learn to drive with their individual challenges or see any other medical diagnosis. We're here to take driving off of your plate.