senior man driving a car
Travel Therapy June 11, 2014

By Ryan

The Role of OT in Driving Rehabilitation

Posted by <Ryan>

An overlooked but critical component of Occupational Therapy concerns comprehensive driver rehabilitation and evaluation. With the senior population (those over 65) roughly on track to double from 2000-2040, the importance of making sure that effective and safe transportation is available to an aging population has never been more pressing. Driving is such a fundamental human activity that connects us to virtually everything we do that it can be easy to take its role in society for granted. The June issue of OT Practice Magazine takes a closer look at the role that OTs can play in transportation issues and the challenges facing keeping our seniors and disabled individuals on the road.

Acute injuries (TBI) and attention deficit disorder (ADHD) are medical conditions that have often been overlooked the offering of driver related services and evaluation. The article, “Fitness-To-Drive Decisions for Acute Care and ADHD”, written by Anne Baker, Chris Bruce, and Carolyn Unsworth, takes an in-depth look at the available interventions that are accessible for OT’s who specialize (and those who don’t) in driver rehabilitation. The article comes equipped with a case study and a variety of empirical studies showcasing the effectiveness of certain efforts and highlighting the need for more studies. A more detailed look at establishing a Driving Rehab Program can be found by reading an article by Beth Sullivan and Mary Ellen Stoykov entitled, “Getting Road Ready”.  The article looks at the impressive work done by the Rush University Medical Center in establishing a driver rehab program.

Most interesting to me was the significant barriers that work to limit progress on the workability of these programs. Whether by funding problems, confidentiality disputes, workforce shortages (trained practitioners) or risk management, it is clear that we have a long way to go to meet the challenges presented in the area of driver and transportation rehabilitation and access. The article also gives essential AOTA resources for OT driver and mobility training. Unfortunately the enlightening articles are for AOTA members but the AOTA website does offer some information for practitioners. However, I highly encourage you to learn more about this growing field of therapy. Until next time…


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