The Oregon Medical Association recognizes that the safety of medically at-risk drivers is a growing public health concern, and a great concern to physicians.
As part of the Association’s effort to address this issue, OMA partnered with Occupational Therapist Carol Gryde, member of the Occupational Therapy Association of Oregon (OTAO), to develop a statewide survey of occupational therapists (OTs) to find out: (1) what types of driver testing and rehabilitation resources are available to referring physicians; and (2) to provide a list of OTs who provide such services and are willing to be part of a directory for referral purposes.
While the results of the current survey are by no means a comprehensive assessment of driver rehabilitation services provided by OTs in Oregon, the study serves as a first step to identifying the types of resources available to physicians who often consult with patients regarding their driving capabilities.
The study revealed that only about 20 percent of OTs or their affiliated programs currently provide driver rehabilitation services. Perhaps as the demand grows for this type of service, so will the number of those who provide it.
Surveys were mailed to 1,263 occupational therapists listed as practicing in Oregon with an active OT license. 211 (17%) participants completed the surveys. Survey data was analyzed by an independent statistician.
Of the respondents who completed the survey, 41 (20%) reported they or their program currently screen or evaluate driving skills. An additional 11 respondents indicated they plan to screen in the future. Of those who do offer programs, the following results were reported:
- The most commonly found dysfunctions when screening are (ranked from most common to least common):
Other (e.g., medication, rotator cuff problems) (12%)
- OT’s screen all ages of patients (16 and above), however those 75 and over are most commonly screened and the 16 to 29 age group is the least commonly screened. As the age group increases, the frequency of screening also increases.
- The types of driver evaluation offered are as follows (Respondents may offer more than one type of evaluation):
77 percent of OTs or their programs offer screening
53 percent offer in-clinic evaluation
13 percent offer in-car on road evaluation
11 percent offer in-car evaluation
- 65 percent of respondents reported that when they do find impairments, they recommend adaptive techniques or equipment vendors.
- 84 percent of respondents refer patients to other individuals or organizations, such as private driving clinics or schools, Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle Services (DMV), hospital system rehab clinics (e.g., Providence in Portland and Salem), or to Ophthalmologists when appropriate.
- The types of payment taken for OT driver screening services include the following (ranked from most common to least common). Many respondents take multiple type of payments.
Private insurance (48%)
Workers’ compensation (26%)
Vocational rehabilitation funds (15%)
Click here for a list (pdf) of occupational therapists who indicated they wished to be part of a directory to which physicians could refer their patients for driver assessment and evaluation. If you are an occupational therapist and would like to be added to this directory, please contact Carol Gryde, MA, OTR/L at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This study was made possible by a grant from the American Medical Association and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.