Driver Evaluation Program Helps Families Make A Difficult Call

Published: Jan. 23, 2019 at 5:39 PM EST
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It is often a delicate and heartbreaking conversation you have to have with an aging parent or friend: When should they make a difficult decision to stop driving. A new driver evaluation program at Mercy Health in Oregon can help make an impartial recommendation.

The program uses a driving simulator and then if the patient can pass that level, then they can move into a real car for an actual road test. The car is adapted to allow an occupational therapist to ride in the car with the patient and they can stop the car if needed.

Dennis Breier had a stroke back in early December and while he's recovering, he does need to be cleared to get back behind the wheel for his job as a bus driver. "I have to pick up clients and take them to doctors appointments wherever they want to go," says Breier. "This helps me with turns, parking and speed."

Lynne Chapman is the Occupational Therapist who runs the program. She says it can be used to evaluated a persons driving abilities if they've been through a neurological diagnosis of conditions like stroke, MS, Parkinson's or dementia. It can also be used to help people with developmental disabilities like Autism determine if they're able to drive by themselves.

The aging question comes up quite a bit and this program allows families to get an independent evaluation. "We need to see what their acuity vision is, but we also want to know about their peripheral field vision is doing," says Chapman. "We can measure their reaction times, along with their ability read the actions of other drivers."

For more information: Mercy Health Outpatient Rehabilitation Center 3851 Navarre Avenue Suite 100, Oregon, Ohio 43616 419-696-7203