Excerpt: 'The Driving Dilemma'

An assessment by a driving rehabilitation specialist or geriatric driving clinic is the most comprehensive test of driving fi tness, but it's also the most time-consuming and expensive. An assessment at a program like the DriveWise program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, takes two patient visits to complete. Visit One, the actual multidisciplinary assessment, takes four hours and involves a social worker, a neuropsychologist, a nurse, an occupational therapist, and a certifi ed driving rehabilitation specialist. First, an assessment conducted by a social worker determines driving needs and driving history, driving-related knowledge, license status, and a complete medical and medication history. Then a neuropsychological evaluation is done to assess cognitive status, followed by an evaluation with an occupational therapist to examine refl exes, vision, and mental status. Finally, an actual road test assessment is conducted by a certifi ed driving rehabilitation specialist. In Visit Two about two weeks later, the fi ndings are reviewed with the driver and family. Driving assessment clinics are often based in academic medical centers (teaching hospitals) or at outpatient rehabilitation clinics. This type of assessment tends to be the most expensive (around $400 or so) and is not yet covered by health insurance. However, many older drivers and family members have reported that the peace of mind afforded by such a comprehensive assessment is worth every penny.

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