What Is Your Role In Talking About Older Road User Safety

Happy Physicians Week! Over the last year, we have relied on health care workers more than ever before. This week and every week, we thank you for all you have done for our community. While your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed, something that is often forgotten is Older Driver Safety.

Primary care providers can be vital in helping older road users recognize when it might be time to change their driving habits, seek a driving assessment to identify adaptations to their car and driving, or to start planning for when they may need to stop driving. Your patients have the utmost respect for you and will listen to what you have to say. Starting early, when someone is 60-65 ensures your patients are aware of their options in advance of a crisis.

How to bring up driving safety during their visits?

Our Driver History Questionnaire is a great tool to introduce the topic of driver safety. Making them aware of their driving abilities steps up the conversation that you can have with them. During this time, discuss the impacts of medical conditions and how their specific medications can affect their driving safety, and the steps they can take to ensure their transportation plan is the safest. Ask your patients to bring in all medicines they are taking, prescription and over-the-counter medications, and go over any questions about how it will affect their driving. Use our Clinicians Guide Patient Education: Medication and Safe Driving section to ensure all points are hit. 

Ways you can help an older driver be safer for longer.

Listen to your patients and their family members and caregivers. If you notice that during their wellness check they are more distracted, talking about how they feel uncomfortable or get anxious while driving, or are experiencing short-term memory loss, it might be time to reach out to their caregiver or family member on ways to implement a new transportation plan.

Creating a plan

During your conversation about their safety, this can be an excellent time to bring up how they can plan to stay independent as they age. Using the ChORUS Older Driver Transportation Planning Tool can help frame the important considerations to allow your patients to drive safer for longer.