Practice Implications

Instructor and student evaluating a client using a driving simulator

Inpatient Settings

Whether you are working in an acute care hospital, acute rehabilitation, or a subacute rehabilitation setting, you will have the skills to be the clinical lead in driving.

  • You will be able to conduct the clinical portion of the comprehensive driving evaluation, using evidenced based assessments for specific diagnosis such as dementia, traumatic brain injury, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease. You will have the skills to make fitness to drive recommendations to the client and their family, as well as the medical team.
  • You will have the skills to tailor in-clinic interventions to target specific skills needed for driving.
  • You will be able to collaborate with wheelchair clinics on the selection of a wheelchair when a client wants to drive. This knowledge can help clients and therapists make cost-effective and practical decisions.
  • You will be able to help clients and therapists navigate when it is appropriate to attend a driver rehabilitation program, educate them on equipment, and inform them about funding sources.
  • As more inpatient settings are open to acquiring driving simulators, you will have the unique set of skills to help choose the most appropriate simulator for your clients and facility, select driving scenarios that best challenge and train clients based on their clinical phenomena, and institute protocols to help mitigate simulator sickness.

Outpatient Settings

The Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (DRS) can work in an established driver rehabilitation program, start a program at a hospital, or work in private practice. In these settings, the DRS may have access to the facility's adapted vehicle equipped or work collaboratively with a driving school that provides the vehicle and/or an instructor.

In addition, the Driver Rehabilitation Specialist will:

  • Develop on-road routes that are constructed from best evidence and best clinical practices.
  • Conduct a comprehensive driving evaluation consisting of in-clinic, on-road, or in the driving simulator.
  • Provide behind the wheel (in-vehicle or via a driving simulator) training to address specific visual, cognitive, motor or other sensory deficits.
  • Write vehicle prescriptions for vehicle modifications.

Entrepreneurs

For therapists interested in entrepreneurial work, driver rehabilitation can be an ideal practice area. Often therapists start with a car and travel to clients’ homes reducing much of the overhead and making it more convenient for clients and their families. Through the Driver Rehabilitation Therapy program, you will have acquired knowledge pertinent to starting and growing your own driver rehabilitation program.