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 medical team, patient, and family.
- 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 patient wants to drive. This knowledge can help patients and therapists make cost-effective and practical decisions.
- You will be able to help patients 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 in-patient settings are open to acquiring driving simulators, you will have the unique set of skills to help choose the most appropriate simulator for your patients and facility, select driving scenarios that best challenge and train patients based on their clinical phenomena, and institute protocols to help mitigate simulator sickness.
The driver rehabilitation therapist can work in an established driver rehabilitation program, start a program at a hospital, or work in private practice. In these settings, the DRT 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 DRT will:
- Conduct a comprehensive driving evaluation consisting of in-clinic, on-road, or in the driving simulator.
- Develop on-road routes that are constructed from best evidence and best clinical practices.
- Provide behind the wheel (in-vehicle or via driving simulator) training to address specific visual, cognitive, motor or other sensory deficits.
- Write a vehicle prescriptions for vehicle modifications.
For therapists who want to be entrepreneurs this 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 DRT program, you will have acquired knowledge pertinent to starting and growing a driving rehabilitation program.