OT Driving Assessment: Process for private patients


Mobility outside the home is vital for independence, particularly for elderly people and people with a disability. A driving assessment looks at all skills and abilities that you currently hold with regards to operating a car, and identifies the impact of your medical condition on these driving skills.

Because driving is a complex task, many medical problems or conditions can affect a person’s ability to drive safely. After injury, you need to be sure you are able to drive safely before you return to everyday driving.

Also, if you are having troubles driving or operating the vehicle controls there may be aids or vehicle modifications that would make driving easier and safer.  If there is any concern that your medical conditions could affect your driving, you need to either stop driving or have a driving assessment.

Occupational  Therapists  (OTs)  are  health professionals who assist people with physical, cognitive, or mental health impairments to resume normal daily activities.  Some occupational therapists (including Evolution therapist’s)  have additional qualifications in driving assessment and rehabilitation.  This allows them to help their clients to either obtain a driving license or ensure that current drivers maintain their ability to drive safely.

Many doctors are now referring their patients for an OT assessment, as opposed to making this challenging decision within their practice.  It is widely seen as an “independent assessment”, with a clinician who holds specialised skills in assessing driving skills, public safety and a focus on maintaining community independence.  Such an assessment allows the GP and their patient to make an informed choice, and also to maintain the often long-standing doctor-patient relationship.  It is the most supported way of handling an ethically challenging and sensitive decision.

Occupational therapists, like doctors or optometrists are independent specialists working in the field of health care.  The OT is specifically trained in assessing and understanding the physical or cognitive impact of a wide range of medical conditions on driving.  If medical conditions are present, an Occupational Therapy driving Assessment is preferable to an assessment solely with a driving instructor.

Families and caregivers often feel guilty of “dobbing in”, or may suffer retaliation from the relevant family member.  Often they also feel too close to the issue to make a justified decision.  This is where an discussion with the patient’s doctor, and potentially a referral to a specialist OT driving assessor may lead to the most suitable result.

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Evolution provides driving assessments to 3 markets:

  • Private Assessments to the general public (including recent hospital discharge patients)
  • Services to the insurance, workers compensation and medicolegal market
  • Sub-contractor services to existing rehabilitation providers and health companies

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Anyone can attend with or without a referral. Assessments are booked by appointment so that we can give you the time you need.

Once a enquiry or referral has been received, we will book you in.   The evaluation begins with the client and family interview, which is followed by visual, cognitive, and motor functional tests; traffic sign recognition; and knowledge questions and ends with a performance based road test, completed in a dual control vehicle, where you, as the driver is accompanied by a driving instructor.

The OT will make reference to professional standards provided by both Occupational Therapy Australia, and also the standards document, “Assessing Fitness to Drive”, published by the National Transport Council of Australia, which should be utilised by all medical and health professionals.

The evaluation ends with a client and family conference, at which time the occupational therapist advises on the final recommendation regarding driving ability, safety and any modifications suggested. The entire evaluation takes approximately 2.5 hr (Which may be spread over multiple days if necessary).

If you are a private client, a report will be sent to your doctor, who will adjust your QLD Transport medical certificate to suit.  We recommend that you make an appointment with your doctor 5 to 10 days following your assessment to discuss the final outcome.

If you are referred by an organisation such as QLD Transport or the NSW RTA, a Solicitor or Insurance Company, or your employer, you will have a more detailed assessment and a comprehensive report, which suits the referrer’s requirements.

 

Evolution is a registered provider for Medicare Australia and with the following Health Insurance Companies:

 

Evolution Occupational Therapy:  Cancellation Policy

At Evolution Occupational Therapy we aim to provide a professional service at a time that is most suitable to you.   All appointments are scheduled with advance notice, and often require booking of additional equipment, driving instructors or vehicles.  We understand that occasionally, something suddenly comes up and you may have to cancel at the last minute.  So that we can continue to provide a timely service, Evolution Occupational Therapy has a CANCELLATION POLICY.

A cancellation fee of $ 87.00 is payable if less than 24hrs notice is given on appointment cancellations.  To avoid this fee, we do try to confirm most appointments on the day before.   All attempts will be made by the practice to fill the gap appointment but in the event that this fails the cancellation charge will be applied.  Additionally, Driving Instructors that are booked for on-road assessments may also apply a separate fee.  We greatly appreciate your support and understanding of our policy and value your questions should you have any.

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