Support for stroke patients in resumption of driving: patient survey and driving simulator trial
Masahito Hitosugi1, Itaru Takehara2, Shu Watanabe3, Yasufumi Hayashi2, Shogo Tokudome1
1Dokkyo Medical University School of Medicine, Tochigi; 2Tokyo Metropolitan Rehabilitation Hospital, Tokyo; 3Tokyo Metropolitan University, Tokyo, Japan
Background: Encouragement of stroke patients to resume driving is important to promote their reintegration into the community. Limited rehabilitation has been performed in this regard, owing to lack of specific knowledge on the part of medical staff. To establish an effective support program for stroke patients who wish to resume driving, we propose comprehensive training by medical staff using a driving simulator.
Methods: A survey of stroke patients admitted to the Tokyo Metropolitan Rehabilitation Hospital was first performed. A questionnaire was sent to 525 patients. Of 218 responses, the answers of 118 patients who had been driving before their stroke were analyzed. More than 80% of stroke patients did not obtain enough information about resuming driving during their hospital stay, and 38.1% of patients would have liked to have had driving training with a simulator. From these results, we set out to determine the effect of driving training using a realistic and technically advanced driving simulator. Twenty-four stroke patients and 20 healthy controls were included in the study.
Results: Repeat training with the simulator resulted in an increased ability to perform braking and an improvement in driving ability. The majority of stroke patients who had the mental and physical ability to drive a car were likely to be assessed as being able to resume driving as a result of the training program.
Conclusion: This study indicates that comprehensive support by medical staff and provision of adequate information about resumption of driving and the opportunity for training on a driving simulator are likely to aid resumption of driving by stroke patients, thus enhancing their rehabilitation and social reintegration.
Keywords: automobile driving, rehabilitation, stroke, support, training
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