The loss of the ability to drive is often a major obstacle to returning to independent living, enjoying social activities, running errands or returning to employment following an illness or disability.
The Driving Evaluation and Rehabilitation Program at Cleveland Clinic is available to evaluate a person's current driving ability, assess driving potential and often enable the person to return to safe, independent driving. Driver rehabilitation may be beneficial whenever a medical condition causes limited function. Our primary goal is to enable clients to attain low-risk, independent mobility in the community.
Services are provided by occupational therapists who are trained as driver rehabilitation specialists. These therapists are trained in the evaluation and treatment of visual, physical, sensory and cognitive/perceptual dysfunctions which may impair driving. We offer a Driving Evaluation program, a Driving Rehabilitation program, and assistance with Vehicle Modification.
Who is driver’s evaluation and rehabilitation for?
To be eligible for participation in the Cleveland Clinic Driver Evaluation and Rehabilitation Program, the client must meet the following requirements:
- Be 18 years of age or older
- Have a valid driver's license or temporary permit
- If you have a history of seizures, your physician needs to certify that the seizures are under medical control
- Have a physician's order for an Occupational Therapy Driving Evaluation
What does driver’s evaluation and rehabilitation involve?
Clients entering this program undergo a two-hour driving evaluation that consists of:
- A clinical evaluation that includes a review of the patient's medical chart and the physician's recommendations, assessment of vision, visual perceptual skills, cognition, range of motion and strength, and reaction time.
- An on-the-road assessment in the Clinic vehicle. (The patient is not tested in their own vehicle due to insurance and safety considerations)
Occupational Therapy Driver Rehabilitation
If safe driving concerns are identified, or if training to ensure the safe use of adaptive equipment is required, a specific, goal-oriented therapy program is developed to decrease the client's driving risk. Therapy sessions may be as few as one or two, or as many as 10 or more, depending on the client's needs and his or her ability to progress toward an eventual return to independent driving.
Initial assessment and discharge progress are reviewed with the client and referring physician. The final decision to drive or discontinue driving is up to the client and the referring physician. By law, the Driving Evaluation and Rehabilitation Program cannot make the final decision, but rather can only provide professional recommendations.
If a client has successfully completed the Driver Evaluation and Rehabilitation Program and will require modifications to their personal automobile, the Driver Evaluation and Rehabilitation Program can assist in the selection of adaptive equipment and provide guidance in the professional installation of this equipment.
How long will driver’s evaluation and rehabilitation take?
The initial evaluation may take approximately two hours; follow up sessions are scheduled for 90 minutes to two hours depending on needs and ability.
What type of recovery/outcome can I expect from driver’s evaluation and rehabilitation?
The goal of the Driving Program is to assist individuals to remain independent drivers for as long as they are safely able to do so. For those persons who really should no longer be independent drivers, we help guide patients and families through this difficult process.