Fitness to drive in cognitive impairment- a quantitative study of GPs' experience

In this study, Doherty et al. (2015) focus on GPs and their experience of assessing patients with cognitive impairment for driving fitness and their attitudes to this role using a postal survey of 200 GPs across three counties in the ROI. A total of 125 GPs responded to the survey. Most (96.8%) GPs agreed that assessing fitness to drive in the context of cognitive impairment was an important issue, with the majority (84%) assessing fitness to drive on a daily or weekly basis. While over two-thirds regularly use guidelines, less than one-third agreed that the guidelines were adequate. The majority of GPs commonly referred patients for further assessment, most often to geriatrics (74.4%), but also to psychiatry of old age 32.6%), external driving assessors (30.6%) and Occupational Therapy (8%). Nearly all GPs stated that they would refuse to certify someone fit to drive if they had concerns about cognitive impairment. Isolation and lack of alternative transport was factors influencing GP decision-making. The study discusses these findings, highlighting the paucity of guidance available to GPs, the well-developed and established role of OTs in other countries in assessing fitness to drive, the differences between GPs in rural and urban areas, GPs’ concerns over their legal liability, doctor-patient relationships. The study concludes by outlining some measures that could assist with the task of assessing fitness to drive among people with cognitive impairment.
Fitness to drive in cognitive impairment- a quantitative study of GPs' experience
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Doherty, U., Hawke, A., Kearns, J., Kelly, M. (2015) ‘Fitness to drive in cognitive impairment – a quantitative study of GPs’ experience’, Irish Medical Journal