Driver Rehabilitation Program
Driving Rehabilitation is a specialty program offered by Palmetto Health Geriatric Research Division. There is no question that safe driving techniques require fast, effective and proficient use of the body and mind. Community Mobility is an important means of independence. A driving evaluation is an in-depth Occupational Therapy assessment to evaluate the client's cognitive, visual and physical abilities performed in the clinic and behind the wheel of an evaluation vehicle. The goal of the Driving Rehabilitation program is to help client safely maintain their driving independence for as long as possible.
An Occupational Therapist (OT) will perform the evaluation and assess the client's ability to continue to drive safely in the community, their driving performance in everyday traffic situations, assess for driving equipment in the car, and safe practice in an adapted vehicle with dual controls. The OT will make recommendations for equipment needs such as mirrors, hand controls, spinner knobs, etc if necessary for the client to continue to drive independently and safely. The occupational therapist may need to assist the client with finding a different route which is safer for the client to drive in order to get to their destination safely. At the end of the evaluation the therapist will meet with the client/family and discuss the driving recommendations, possible therapy or training needs or discuss alternate means of transportation.
A physician referral and a valid driver's license or permit is needed to perform the evaluation. The therapist will send the referring physician the completed evaluation with the driving recommendations. A client might be recommended to receive therapy to increase range of motion, strength, improve cognition, increase reaction times, increase visual processing or scanning skills to improve their driving skills safely, or the client may need training to use adaptive equipment safely prior to driving independently with the equipment. Each recommendation is based on the client's performance from the clinic and behind the wheel assessment.
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