Conditions & Treatments

Driving Assessment Program

Man driving with evaluator

Through our Driving Assessment Program, Spaulding Outpatient Centers offer evaluations for people experiencing functional changes due to trauma, surgery, a neurologic incident, or the aging process. It is an essential part of the assessment to address any deficits that may influence your safety and independence behind the wheel and as a licensed driver.

Medical conditions that may affect driving skills include stroke, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, acquired or traumatic brain injury, macular degeneration, glaucoma, neuropathy, cardiac disease, arthritis and cerebral palsy. These conditions may affect your vision, memory, attention, and ability to problem solve and react quickly.

If you are unsure if your condition affects your driving abilities, or if you need a doctor’s order to medically clear you to drive, you may benefit from a driving evaluation. If you are concerned about the driving abilities of a family member or friend, you may want to recommend that they participate in a driving assessment.

We will assess your vision, spatial awareness, ability to shift attention, problem solving, sequencing, and awareness of others on the road. We also will assess your own strengths and weaknesses, ability to read traffic signs, ability to identify and safely respond to hazards, gas/brake/steering reaction time, and other physical and cognitive abilities. This evaluation may also examine the need for adaptive equipment to make driving easier for you.



Approach to Care

Our approach is to assess all of the abilities of a person who is driving – physical, cognitive, visual, perceptual, as well as driving behaviors. We start with a clinical assessment that takes one to two hours.  Following this, a person may be recommended for an in-vehicle assessment coordinated between the patient, their family/support, the occupational therapist, and one of our partner driving schools.

Following both assessments, recommendations are made to resume driving safely, pursue retraining on the road, pursue modifications/training for vehicles, pursue additional therapy to address areas of concerns, or refrain from driving. Alternative transportation options may be discussed as well. Reports are sent to the referring physician and may be sent to the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Expertise

A Driving Assessment is conducted by an occupational therapist at one of our six centers specializing in this evaluation. The occupational therapist has the opportunity to participate in training in the most advanced assessment tools and methods to ensure competent decision making both clinically and on the road.

The Spaulding occupational therapists who perform driving assessments have a unique benefit of being able to consult with each other as part of a team to allow the best quality of service for their patients. Our Spaulding occupational therapists are skilled in the assessment of vision, perception, cognition and mobility, as well as the complex interaction of all of these components during driving.

Research & Innovation

The Spaulding Rehabilitation Network is dedicated to researching innovative treatments for our patients who may need assistance with driving evaluations.

Program

In-Vehicle Assessment

Description
An on-the-road evaluation may be performed to determine your ability to drive safely in a closely supervised environment. This involves an in-traffic evaluation, helping to correlate the findings from the clinical tests with your on-the-road performance. This evaluation is performed in a vehicle that has an instructor’s brake, an occupational therapy, and a certified driving instructor. Results of both the clinical and road evaluations are sent to the referring physician along with specific recommendations, such as medical follow-up, outpatient therapy, driving lessons, or adaptations to your car to allow for safe driving. The evaluation is given on a self-pay basis and takes between two and three hours to complete.

Clinical Assessment
The clinical assessment utilizes evidence-based testing correlated to the skills required for driving. This includes vision, cognitive, and physical/reaction time testing.

Locations

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Please call for more about scheduling & referrals

Inpatient: 1.617.952.5350

Outpatient: 1.888.SRN.4330

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