Hi everyone, it’s Brad Williams from Williams OT, driver assessments and rehabilitation.
As you might be aware it is Brain Injury Awareness Week from August 20th to 26th.
With that, I have a little trivia for all of you. Did you know that over 700,000 Australians live everyday with a brain injury? And did you know that two in every three acquire their brain injury before the age of 25? Sounds scary, I know.
Brain injury awareness week is all about raising awareness about the causes, symptoms and the impacts of brain injury. We thought that you might like to hear about how brain injury impacts on driving. We have found a bunch of useful links for you to go and visit (and come back of course because you think we are awesome) and hear first-hand what the impact of brain injuries have on driving. Stick around to the end and we will help you understand how a referral to an OT might just be the best thing you ever did for you and your family.
Driving after a traumatic Brain injury
So what are the dangers of driving with a brain injury? Can you even drive after a brain injury? Why is it important to have an assessment?
These are all fantastic questions.
Brain Injury Australia has looked into this for us. They have put together a hand out on driving with a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). It is a fantastic resource. It highlights how a TBI can affect driving and what the warning signs are to look out for and what makes unsafe driving.
It even goes into some status like “How often do individuals with TBI return to driving?”
The fact sheet also discusses what is involved in a driving assessment and training, vehicle modifications and the legal and insurance considerations.
We strongly suggest that if you know someone with a brain injury, and they want to drive and drive safely, this fact sheet is a must read for them. Download it here:
What is involved in obtaining a licence after a brain injury?
The driver OT world is blessed with talented and experienced OTs that assist people with brain injuries have a safe and fulfilling life behind the steering wheel. In 2016 Pam Ross (Grade 4 Senior Occupational Therapist, Driving and Vocational Rehabilitation Coordinator, Epworth Rehabilitation) delivered a Lecture on Return to Driving after Traumatic Brain Injury – Processes, Outcomes and Driver Rehabilitation Interventions. So I thought, why do we need to rewrite what someone has already done? If you click the photo below, you can find Pam’s summary of the lecture.
If you would like to listen to the full lecture, the podcast is available on iTunes.
Okay so that’s nice, but Pam is from Sydney. What about us here in South Australia?
For South Australian drivers, the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Service put together an information pack for clients involved in Occupational Therapy Driver Clinics of South Australia, which is titled,
“What are the steps involved in getting my licence back after injury illness or disability?”
The work booklet has a step by step process for you to follow to help regain a driver’s licence. How good is that?
Download the booklet by clicking the photo here:
If you have read through to here and you have downloaded the hand out form Brain Injury Australia, Listened to Pam Ross’ Lecture and read her summary, and downloaded the booklet from the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Unit of SA, congratulations, you can consider yourself well informed. That is a lot of information to take in.
In brief, individual assessment after medical clearance from the doctors involved in your case is the best way to move forward. OT’s trained in driving pull apart the task of driving, and where you have to drive to and from. They then pull apart the impacts of the brain injury, find out where the issues are and if they impact on the tasks of driving that you need to do. The best bit is, especially if you find a good one, a Driver Trained OT will come up with a rehabilitation plan to get you back to driving safely and appropriately, just like a physio would come up with a plan to improve your balance and get you walking again.
There are so many people out there that struggle to hold a conversation or have trouble organizing their daily life, but with the right assessment and rehabilitation, they have returned to safe and appropriate driving allowing them to maintain independence and allows their families to rest easy.
If you enjoyed this article, please leave a comment below or share the link with a friend that might find it helpful. If you would like some more personal information for your case, get in touch. We want to help you too.