Rehabilitation is all about independence – regaining the ability to live your life on your own terms. For many people – driving fits prominently into this picture.
At HHH, we are committed to helping both our patients, and individuals in the community, safely get to where they need to go. Our Adapted Driving Program serves individuals with physical or cognitive disabilities that may affect their ability to drive safely. The program is available to licensed drivers who have sustained brain or spinal cord injury, stroke or amputation or may have MS or other disorders.
The service begins with a pre-driving assessment, which if passed, is followed by a driving eval. The hospital has a specially adapted and modified vehicle and we then go out with the driver and perform a thorough evaluation behind the wheel. If adaptive equipment is suggested, such as spinner knobs or hand controls, we can provide the individual with training on how to use them appropriately.
My commitment to enabling individuals with disabling conditions to drive safely recently led me to become certified as a Driver Rehabilitation Specialist. The certification is awarded to individuals with a healthcare degree who must pass a vigorous exam. In addition, applicants must have many years of experience working in the healthcare and the driver rehabilitation field. The certification requires me to complete ongoing continuing education.
In an effort to ensure that senior drivers are also safe drivers, on April 28 we will be hosting a CarFit program. The free event, which is open to the public, offers the mature driver the opportunity to check how well their personal vehicle “fits” them.
HHH occupational therapists, who have been certified as CarFit technicians, will go through a 12-point checklist with each driver, evaluating items including: mirror adjustment to reduce blind spots; foot positioning on the gas and brake pedals; seat positioning and line of sight over the steering wheel; and properly adjusted head restraints. The therapists will also make suggestions of adjustments and adaptations that may help the driver, such as seat belt extenders or steering wheel covers.
Appointments are currently being taken for the Carfit event on April 28. Call 845-786-4809 to reserve your spot or receive additional information on the HHH Adapted Driving Program.
-Lynn Matthes, OTR/L
Outpatient Neurology Center
Driver Rehabilitation Specialist