Brenda H. Vrkljan, Ann Cranney, Julia Worswick, Siobhan O’Donnell, Linda C. Li, Isabelle Gélinas, Anna Byszewski, Malcolm Man-Son-Hing, Shawn Marshall; Supporting Safe Driving With Arthritis: Developing a Driving Toolkit for Clinical Practice and Consumer Use. Am J Occup Ther 2010;64(2):259–267. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.64.2.259
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© 2020 American Occupational Therapy Association
We conducted a series of focus groups to explore the information needs of clinicians and consumers related to arthritis and driving. An open coding analysis identified common themes across both consumer and clinician-based focus groups that underscored the importance of addressing driving-related concerns and the challenges associated with assessing safety. The results revealed that although driving is critical for maintaining independence and community mobility, drivers with arthritis experience several problems that can affect safe operation of a motor vehicle. Findings from this study are part of a broader research initiative that will inform the development of the Arthritis and Driving toolkit. This toolkit outlines strategies to support safe mobility for people with arthritis and will be an important resource in the coming years given the aging population.
If anything, I didn’t want them to know that I was having such a hard time driving because what would I have done? You know, I didn’t have help to drive me, I had to drive, and I didn’t want my license taken away.
I’m terrified because I can’t turn around. My neck is all seized up. I just can’t turn around, and it scares the hell out of me … every once in a while a guy just appears that was in the blind spot.
Because when you’re in a flare-up, your reaction time takes longer, you’re tired, you’re weak, your muscles are all weak, your joints are aching, like you can’t do it as quickly because the brain can’t send the message and the body can’t react as quickly.
Turning a corner or turning onto a street was extremely bad. I couldn’t do it like I used to. I would do it, but I had to wait until the whole road was clear so that I could; it would take me a long time.
If I do have concerns about someone’s posture, reaction time, and how they are moving and various things going on with them, I may ask the family member, are you comfortable driving in the car with them? And then you know you hear the story, no, no, no, we never go in the car with them and that’s sort of my flag.
First of all getting the trunk door open … you know because ours is a hatchback, you need to make sure it doesn’t hit you on the head and depending how high the trunk is, you know with my wrists I have problems with bags of milk, stuff like that.
With the long-distance driving, one of the other things with rheumatoid arthritis is sometimes the fatigue factor can come on very quickly and you might be fine but 5 minutes later you might just say “I can’t go any further” so you have to plan your rest stops.
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