What is the Current Status of Occupational Therapy Practice for Adult Drivers with Dementia

What is the Current Status of Occupational Therapy Practice for Adult Drivers with Dementia

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Occupational therapy (OT) is a client-centered approach resolute to assist individuals in attaining their highest occupational performance (American Occupational Therapy Association [AOTA], 2014c). Driving and aging is an emerging topic of interest for occupational therapists (OTs) (AOTA, 2007). According to the Administration on Aging (AOA) (2013), by the year 2030 the number of 65 year olds and older in the United States will be 72.1 million, which is a 32.5 million increase compared to 2009’s census. With such a substantial growth among this population, the amount of geriatric drivers that will be on the road in 2030 will also increase substantially. Occupational therapists presently play a vital role in this area of practice as evidenced by the current partnership with AARP and CarFit. OT’s role includes driver rehabilitation addressing all age groups that hold a driver’s license, dementia being one of the largest populations. Conversely, OT’s role in assessing driving for clients with dementia is not clearly defined in evidence based practice (EBP).
A systematic review of the literature by Furman, Kim, Paolino, Patel, & Torres (2013), revealed that there was a lack of scholarly evidence based practice and peer-reviewed literature related to occupational therapists’ role in driver rehabilitation, specifically with clients diagnosed with cognitive deficits such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, the gap between scholarly work and practice is clear however, the nature of the gap remains unclear. For this reason, a needs assessment is essential to systematically identify the reasoning for this lack of evidence and encourage further research in this area.. In order to prepare for a future needs assessment...

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... to practice. (3rd edition). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Strzelecki, M.V. (2010, July 12). The dementia care difference. OT Practice. Retrieved from http://www.aota.org/-/media/Corporate/Files/Secure/Publications/OTP/2010/OTP%20Vol%2015%20Issue%2012.pdf
Tomlin, G., & Borgetto, B. (2011). Research pyramid: A new evidence-based practice model for occupational therapy. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 65(2), 189–196. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2011.000828
Uc, E.Y., Rizzo, M., Anderson, S.W., Shi, Q., Dawson, J.D. (2004). Driver route-following and safety errors in early Alzheimer disease, Neurology, 63(5),832-7.
Unsworth, C. A., Pallant, J. F., Russell, K. J., Germano, C., & Odell, M. (2010). Validation of a Test of Road Law and Road Craft Knowledge With Older or Functionally Impaired Drivers. American Journal of Occupational Therapy 64(2), 306–315.

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