Poster Session
Issue Date: August 2016
Published Online: August 01, 2016
Updated: January 01, 2021
Roles of Occupational Therapists in Driving Rehabilitation Programs
Author Affiliations
  • San Jose State University
  • San Jose State University
  • San Jose State University
  • San Jose State University
Article Information
Community Mobility and Driving / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Basic Research
Poster Session   |   August 01, 2016
Roles of Occupational Therapists in Driving Rehabilitation Programs
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2016, Vol. 70, 7011505118.
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2016, Vol. 70, 7011505118.

Date Presented 4/7/2016

This qualitative study explored the roles and experiences of expert occupational therapists working in driving rehabilitation. This study sought to understand the clinical reasoning used by experts to competently practice in this arena.

Primary Author and Speaker: Mia Sanchez

Additional Authors and Speakers: Anh Pham, Mayra Bermudez, Neil David

Contributing Author: Winifred Schultz-Krohn

QUESTION: What roles are assumed by expert occupational therapists (OTs) who are involved in driving rehabilitation programs?
RATIONALE: Driving rehabilitation is within the domain of community mobility for occupational therapy (American Occupational Therapy Association [AOTA], 2014b). An occupational therapy practitioner with specialty certification in driving rehabilitation is uniquely qualified to evaluate and address the needs of the client while providing strategies to promote independence (AOTA, 2014a; Stav 2012). OTs assess the complexities of driving by evaluating an individual’s cognitive and physical capabilities to simultaneously navigate through the environment safely. Regardless of the need and demand for driving rehabilitation programs, interdisciplinary conflicts and discrepancies occur among the members of the treatment team about the role of the OT in driver rehabilitation (Stav, 2012).
In addition, there is a lack of a universal language for driving rehabilitation programs, causing confusion for health care professionals and consumers and affecting consistency of services (Lane et al., 2014). The purpose of this qualitative investigation was to examine the roles and experiences of occupational therapy practitioners who are certified driving rehabilitation specialists.
DESIGN: Qualitative pilot study using in-depth interviews to examine the roles of expert OTs engaged in driving rehabilitation.
PARTICIPANTS: Three licensed occupational therapists possessing either the credential of Certified Driving Rehabilitation Specialist or the Specialty Certification in Driving and Community Mobility were recruited from the AOTA and Association for Driving Rehabilitation Specialists websites.
DATA COLLECTION: Demographic data were collected before the interview session. In-depth interviews were completed with each participant, and these interviews were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim.
ANALYSIS: The constant comparative method was used to code raw data and develop subsequent categories from which themes emerged (DePoy & Gitlin, 2015). This approach allowed the investigators to use open coding to detect new information and further support existing information.
RESULTS: Five unique themes emerged from the data, providing insight into the roles of the OT in driving rehabilitation: OT as an educator, OT as an advocate, OT conducting assessment, OT in driving training, and OT role in driving cessation. Each role was unique and developed from specific coded transcript material.
IMPACT: The themes that emerged provided insight into the varied roles of the OT and the complexity of driving rehabilitation. To advance the profession, new OTs can draw from experts in practice to augment their knowledge and skills.
American Occupational Therapy Association. (2014a). Board and specialty certification. Retrieved from
American Occupational Therapy Association. (2014b). Occupational therapy practice framework: Domain and process (3rd ed.). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68(Suppl.1), S1–S48.
DePoy, E., & Gitlin, L (2015). Introduction to research (5th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
Lane, A., Green, E., Dickerson, E. A., Davis, E., Rolland, B., & Stohler, T. J. (2014). Driving rehabilitation programs: Defining program models, services, and expertise. Occupational Therapy in Health care, 28, 177–187.
Stav, W. B. (2012). Developing and implementing driving rehabilitation programs: A phenomenological approach. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 66, e11–e19.