As a medical professional, you're often expected to have all of the answers. But when it comes to making a recommendation on your patients’ ability to drive with a specific condition or after an accident, those answers can be very, very complicated.
That’s why our goal is to be a collaborative, supportive resource as your patients are looking to get back on the road — complementing your in-depth knowledge and patient relationship with adaptive driving expertise.
Working together, we can offer specific, customized plans for each patient, and do a whole lot more to help them as well. With that in mind, here are 5 reasons you should refer your patients with driving questions or concerns to a driving rehab program.
1.) Getting Behind the Wheel Matters
In some obvious cases, you can gauge your clients' ability to drive from an examination room. However, for the finer cases in which your patient might simply be a higher risk on the road, it can be hard to reliably diagnose without a trip behind the wheel.
With driver rehab, occupational therapist driving instructors are watching driving behavior where it matters — on the road — in dual-controlled evaluation vehicles that can be adapted for every disability.
2.) Thorough Driving Assessments Take Time
In general, our comprehensive exam takes around 2 hours and includes checks for cognitive, physical, and visual abilities/challenges to start. Then, we check speed control, lane positioning, decision making, awareness, and defensive driving skills.
It takes a wide variety of conditions and situations in order to get a real view of someone's ability to safely drive. That’s why our evaluation seeks to provide a comprehensive understanding of your patient’s driving abilities, as well as potential next steps.
3.) You Don’t Have to Be 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.
A referral to driver rehab allows us to make those recommendations — whether they be to drive on, use adaptive equipment like hand controls or wheelchair lifts, limit driving conditions, or retire from behind the wheel.
Our goal is always one that we share with you and your patients. We want to help them be as independent and mobile as possible, while also staying safe and understanding their physical abilities
Sometimes this does mean hanging up the keys, but in many cases, we can find ways for clients to keep on driving safely after our driver evaluations by using rehabilitation programs and adaptive driving programs. Which brings us to...
4.) It Isn't As Simple as "When Can I Drive Again?"
From strokes to spinal cord injuries to geriatric patients with memory loss, no 2 diagnoses are the same.
Just the same, every driving assessment will be entirely different, and we work hard to help you and your patients understand exactly what it means to drive with their new health conditions.
It may be safe for one driver to set out during the daytime in close proximity to home, but not at night or on the highway. Certain drivers may require specific adaptive equipment, which we can recommend and train them to use.
Again, our focus is the same as yours — to help your patients regain their health and independence while remaining safe.
5.) Liability Matters
Though it’s an unfortunate consideration, everyone in the medical field has to consider liability.
When you send a patient for a driving assessment, our occupational therapy team now owns that client’s liability and can take over the key responsibility of determining if and how your patient can drive.
This avoids the uncertainty of sending a patient out on the road without knowing if they’re safe to drive, which is better for you, your patient, and anyone else on the road.
Take the Next Step With Us
The Next Street Driver Rehab Services has a team of certified driver rehabilitation specialists based in CT, MA, and RI.
They’re available within one week of referral and can work one on one with your patients to determine exactly when, how, and if it will be safe for them to drive.
So whether you’re working with amputees seeking adaptive driving equipment, elderly drivers wondering if they can continue safe operation of a motor vehicle, autistic new drivers seeking an adaptive driving school, or any people with disabilities or other challenges, we're here to take the complications of driving off of your plate.