Fitness to drive practices among non-driver trained occupational therapists in an Australian community-based rehabilitation setting

Scott, Hayley, Unsworth, Carolyn, and Browne, Matthew (2021) Fitness to drive practices among non-driver trained occupational therapists in an Australian community-based rehabilitation setting. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 68 (5). pp. 363-373.

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Introduction: Driving is a valued occupation given the independence and freedom it provides. Safe driving performance can be impacted by medical conditions, change in functional status and ageing processes. Occupational therapy driver assessors (OTDAs) provide invaluable driving recommendations; however, this requires specialist training for the therapist and is costly for clients. The number of OTDAs is not expected to meet the growing demand for expert services in this area, and little is known about the practices that non- OTDAs use to assist clients with returning to driving. The aims of this study were to investigate the practices of non-OTDAs in a community-based rehabilitation setting in Australia with respect to knowledge, confidence and skills in assessments, recommendations and outcomes for clients as part of the return to driving process.

Methods: A descriptive study including medical record audits between April and September 2019 and staff surveys were completed at a large metropolitan community-based rehabilitation facility. Descriptive statistics and thematic analysis were used to summarise data.

Results: A total of 102 client medical records were audited, and 13 clinician surveys were completed. Medical record audits identified that return to driving was not consistently addressed by occupational therapists. Clinician surveys outlined a lack of knowledge and confidence of return to driving processes and available assessment tools to guide this process.

Conclusion: All occupational therapists have an ethical obligation to address driving as an activity of daily living; however, non-OTDAs report that they are not equipped for this role. This may negatively impact on driver safety, independence and overall health and well-being of clients in community-based rehabilitation. Further research is indicated to develop evidence-based driving resources to support best practice of non-OTDAs.

Item ID: 70717
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1440-1630
Keywords: aged, automobile driving, occupational therapy, rehabilitation, surveys
Copyright Information: © 2021 Occupational Therapy Australia
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2022 01:55
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