Items in AFP with MESH term: Automobile Driving
ABSTRACT: As the number of drivers with cognitive impairment increases, family physicians are more likely to become involved in decisions about cessation of driving privileges in older patients. Physicians who care for cognitively impaired older adults should routinely ask about driving status. In patients who continue to drive, physicians should assess pertinent cognitive domains, determine the severity and etiology of the dementia, and screen for risky driving behaviors. Cognitive impairment detected by office-based tests may indicate that the patient is at risk of a motor vehicle crash. Referral for performance-based road testing may further clarify risk and assist in making driving recommendations. Physicians should assist families in the difficult process of driving cessation, including providing information about Web sites and other resources and clarifying the appropriate state regulations. Some states require reporting of specific medical conditions to their departments of motor vehicles.
Making the Most of the Daily Commute - The Last Word
ABSTRACT: Referring a patient to a neuropsychologist for evaluation provides a level of rigorous assessment of brain function that often cannot be obtained in other ways. The neuropsychologist integrates information from the patient’s medical history, laboratory tests, and imaging studies; an in-depth interview; collateral information from the family and other sources; and standardized assessment instruments to draw conclusions about diagnosis, prognosis, and response to therapy. Family physicians can use this information in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with depression, dementia, concussion, and similar conditions, as well as to address concerns about decision-making capacity. Certain assessment instruments, such as the Mini-Mental State Examination and Patient Health Questionnaire–9, are readily available and easily performed in a primary care office. Distinguishing among depression, dementia, and other conditions can be challenging, and consultation with a neuropsychologist at this level can be diagnostic and therapeutic. The neuropsychologist typically helps the patient, family, and primary care team by establishing decision-making capacity; determining driving safety; identifying traumatic brain injury deficits; distinguishing dementia from depression and other conditions; and detecting malingering. Neuropsychologists use a structured set of therapeutic activities to improve a patient’s ability to think, use judgment, and make decisions (cognitive rehabilitation). Repeat neuropsychological evaluation can be invaluable in monitoring progression and treatment effects.
ABSTRACT: Most certification examinations of commercial drivers are simple, and relatively few drivers are disqualified. If these examinations are not done properly, however, the public can be exposed to potentially unqualified drivers. Should an accident occur, the physician who examined the driver may be found liable. In performing driver certification examinations, the physician's primary responsibility is to the public. The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Regulations and supporting documents provide guidelines for the conditions that may be disqualifying and the conditions that may allow only temporary certification until better medical control is achieved. Some medical diagnoses, such as insulin-requiring diabetes mellitus, are automatically disqualifying, no matter how well the disease is controlled. Other conditions may require documented clearance from a specialist before certification is granted.
Epilepsy, Driving and the Law - Curbside Consultation
The Older Adult Driver - Article
ABSTRACT: More adults aged 65 and older will be driving in the next few decades. Many older drivers are safe behind the wheel and do not need intensive testing for license renewal. Others, however, have physiologic or cognitive impairments that can affect their mobility and driving safety. When an older patient's driving competency is questioned, a comprehensive, step-by-step assessment is recommended. Many diseases that impair driving ability can be detected and treated effectively by family physicians. Physicians should take an active role in assessing and reducing the risk for injury in a motor vehicle and, when possible, prevent or delay driving cessation in their patients. Referral to other health care professionals, such as an occupational or physical therapist, may be helpful for evaluation and treatment. When an older patient is no longer permitted or able to drive, the physician should counsel the patient about using alternative methods of transportation.