Driving Mobility assessments reopen to safely support disabled drivers
Driving Mobility assessment centres reopening services with Covid-19 safety measures so drivers can once again receive expert guidance regarding assisted motoring.
Driving Mobility, the charity that accredits a network of specialist driving assessment centres, is reopening its UK services with Covid-19 safety measures so drivers can once again receive expert guidance regarding assisted motoring.
Driving Mobility Centres provide professional, clinically-led driving and mobility assessments for individuals who have restricted mobility. Service users self-refer or are signposted to its 20 Centres from the DVLA, Motability, the Police and healthcare professionals such as GPs and Occupational Therapists. These Centres provide over 70 outreach facilities bringing the service close to where people live, and which are managed by independent charities or NHS departments – all focused on helping people with disabilities or life changing diagnosis to continue driving safely. Since the lockdown in March, Driving Mobility assessment appointments have been suspended following guidance from the Government. However, from the 6th July, Centres will be reintroducing services with a phased approach so that clients and staff remain safe from coronavirus.
Edward Trewhella, CEO, Driving Mobility, comments: “Every centre is preparing to reopen for safe driving assessments. All our staff are keen to get going and have been busy organising new procedures in terms of Covid-19. Our Approved Driving Instructors and Occupational Therapists will be fully observing Government guidelines and NHS clinical principles, so clients experience a rewarding driving assessment that focuses on a positive outcome. We have a backlog of enquiries which will be resolved as quickly as possible and our teams are ready for new stakeholder referrals to begin once more.”
Members of the public, as clients, will need to be in a vehicle with Driving Mobility assessors, and this will involve several new procedures to reduce risk. These will include the use of PPE and hand sanitiser, thorough disinfecting of vehicles, open windows at all times and limited close personal contact. Use of assessment rooms and waiting areas will all be adjusted in accordance with advice from Public Health England.
Edward continues: “We believe our services are now more vital than ever before in terms of supporting peoples’ independence. With current advice to avoid public transport where necessary and to take extra precautions if you have underlying health conditions, the ability to drive a car independently with a disability has great significance for mental health and wellbeing. Our Centres also provide assessments and guidance on solutions for mobility that facilitate social distancing, such as powered wheelchairs and mobility scooters. These comprehensive services which encompass all aspects of accessible travel, provide the key to many who have been unable to leave home in an appropriate and safe manner.
Edward concludes: “Driving Mobility is the national voice of assisted driving and independence – now is the time this will be even more pronounced.”
Latest mobility scooter training at QEF to support new Driving Mobility HUBS initiative
TGA has provided a free educational workshop for professionals at QEF Mobility Services, South London, so its assessors can provide the latest mobility scooter advice to clients.
Part of the Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People, QEF Mobility Services is one the UK’s largest charitable providers of mobility advice and equipment for people with disabilities and age-related impairments. Based in Carshalton, it is part of the nationwide Driving Mobility network of driving assessment centres which is supported by the Department for Transport. Each of the 20 main centres, many with additional outreach facilities, provide guidance on assisted driving, adapted vehicles and fitness-to-drive. Occupational Therapists (OTs), Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) and Administration staff support individuals signposted from the DVLA, Motability, Police and healthcare professionals.
QEF Mobility Services is currently one of seven centres involved with a pilot ‘HUBS’ scheme led by Driving Mobility which aims to provide advice regarding accessible travel, transport and lifestyles. Part of this initiative is to focus on providing solutions if individuals have their driving licence revoked ie. keeping people mobile and connected as per the Government’s latest inclusive strategy. Solutions can include the safe and appropriate use of mobility scooters – hence the workshop by TGA.
QEF team members received an informative presentation from TGA’s Eric Cooper and the opportunity to test drive a range of latest products from this established supplier. Education included a variety of topics ranging from scooter classification, the Highway Code and social prescription. OTs, ADIs and clinicians were able to experience hands-on the TGA Breeze S4, Supersport, Minimo Autofold and the multi award-winning WHILL Model C powerchair.
Paul Graham, QEF Senior Occupational Therapist commented: “We would like to thank Eric and Dom from TGA for taking the time to present to us. Their practical mobility scooter demonstrations and our team test drives provided the opportunity to see and feel the latest technology in action and appreciate how mobility scooter styling has been modernised. We had a new member of staff attend who had never driven a scooter before so this provided the ideal opportunity to understand about speed control and handling.”
Paul continues: “The value of scooters in terms of social inclusion is immeasurable however safe driving and correct product provision is imperative – this is why QEF assessment services are vital. This also dovetails with our Transport Hub programme so we can offer advice on accessible travel with scooters. Amanda Beck, our Transport Hub Project Lead, also attended which was beneficial to the whole pilot programme. TGA’s workshop was a rewarding addition to our educational agenda.”
Eric Cooper, TGA Product Specialist added: “Dom and I were delighted with the positive feedback we received from the attendees at QEF. We were asked lots of questions and the interactive test drive session was a light-hearted experience with an educational purpose. We handed out copies of our new professional’s guide to scooters and highlighted the other signposting material we have in production, including the scooter passport. TGA is fully supportive of Driving Mobility’s HUBS initiative as we believe greater accessibility and social engagement is vital for positive mental health and well-being.”
TGA provides free educational workshops for healthcare professionals so the latest knowledge regarding mobility scooters can be gathered for enhanced assessment processes. In addition, it offers a comprehensive support programme for safe scooter driving awareness days, online advice, driver training and high-visibility clothing. Its test drive course is available free of charge for associated public and professional events and TGA advisors can provide objective guidance regarding the latest techniques to remain safe whilst driving. The test drive course will be next available at Naidex 2020 which will be held at the NEC on 17-18th March.
NWDAS expands Liverpool driving assessment provision with new community Fire Station Outreach Services
The North West Driving Assessment Service (NWDAS) based in St Helens, Merseyside, has launched two new outreach schemes at community fire stations in Liverpool
The North West Driving Assessment Service (NWDAS) based in St Helens, Merseyside, has launched two new outreach schemes at community fire stations in Liverpool, enabling increased access to driving and adaptation assessments alongside home fire safety guidance.
With a team of Occupational Therapists and Approved Driving Instructors, NWDAS is delivered by Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (Bridgewater) and overseen by the charity, Driving Mobility. Driving Mobility accredits twenty independent organisations which offer professional support and driving assessments to people who need to gain, or retain, the ability to drive following a diagnosis involving impairment or disability.
Following the success of a recently launched outreach scheme in Leyland, Lancashire, NWDAS is now officially offering independent driving and adaptation assessments at Netherton and Crosby Fire Station and Bellevale Fire Station, both in Liverpool. As part of this new arrangement, NWDAS clients visiting the two new Merseyside services will be able to access free home fire safety guidance combined with advice about how to stay safe and well at home.
Rebecca Jones, NWDAS Team Leader, comments: “We are proud to have a strong working relationship with partner organisations in local communities and by locating our services within community fire stations we can become even more accessible to the public. The two additional Merseyside locations will provide a reduction in travel time for many people living in the region. Outreach locations not only provide a greater choice of venue but increase availability for assessment appointments as well, which we hope will encourage more people to seek professional driving information and gain specialist advice.”
Rebecca concludes: “As with all Driving Mobility Centres, we always endeavour to ensure the provision of high-quality services and information, and we are delighted to be linking our assessments with an opportunity for clients to gain valuable fire safety advice.”
Assessments are free when referred by healthcare professionals, the DVLA and Motability. Alternatively, individuals can make a self-referral to the service via the main centre in Haydock, at a cost of £50.
To find out more about the support available from The North West Driving Assessment Centre visit www.bridgewater.nhs.uk/northwestdrivingassessmentservice or call 01942 483713.
Pictured: Hilary Kay, Specialist Occupational Therapist and Martin Vivers Approved Driving Instructor
National charity Driving Mobility appoints two new board members
Driving Mobility, the charity which accredits a network of driving assessment centres nationwide, has appointed Annie Wallace-Stanley and Sean Lawrence to its board.
Driving Mobility, the charity which accredits a network of driving assessment centres nationwide, has appointed Annie Wallace-Stanley and Sean Lawrence to its board.
During Driving Mobility’s recent national conference and AGM, Annie, Driving Advisor, Cornwall Mobility (left) and Sean, CEO, Hertfordshire Action on Disability, were voted in following a ballot of centre managers.
Sean commented: ” I am extremely pleased and proud to have been nominated to the DM Board and I would like to thank everyone who voted for me. My first task was thrust on me very quickly, when I was asked to chair the afternoon session at the conference – ‘straight in at the deep end’! I am looking forward to becoming more involved with the NE London project, having joined the Steering Group to support Christine Parr, who is heading up this project. I am excited about the prospect of developing my communication and teamwork skills, and broadening my knowledge and understanding of the mobility sector and hope to positively influence outcomes for Driving Mobility, it’s Centres and Clients.”
On receipt of the ballot result Annie added: “I was prompted to request nomination to the board because I am passionate about ways to support clients to keep them driving safely for longer. To promote collaboration and encourage engagement with the DVSA, our local GPs, Memory Clinics, OT networks, rehabilitation programmes, ADIs and other relevant individuals/organisations to provide a more consistent nationwide service that can support our clients. I understand the need to move forward with the ever-changing environment in which we live and the varied community of clients that we serve and hope that I can contribute to the future development of Driving Mobility.”
East Anglian DriveAbility’s extended centre in Thetford successfully launches to help elderly and disabled drivers
East Anglian DriveAbility (EAD) has officially opened its new extended Thetford centre to high visitor numbers.
East Anglian DriveAbility (EAD), a charity which is part of Driving Mobility’s UK network of assessment centres for elderly and disabled drivers, has officially opened its new extended Thetford centre to high visitor numbers.
Isabel Coe, retired Centre Manager, officially cut the ribbon to celebrate the opening of the new training facilities and expanded waiting area facilities. The opening was also supported by Helen Dolphin MBE, chair of the EAD charity and highly respected accessibility campaigner. A high number of visitors attended particularly Occupational Therapists (OT) and fellow healthcare professionals who were keen to discover more about the latest services offered by EAD. EAD is currently expanding its services beyond driving assessments to include quality guidance regarding all forms of accessible travel and independent mobility.
Driving Mobility accredits twenty independent organisations which offer professional support and driving assessments to people who need to gain, or retain, the ability to drive following a diagnosis involving impairment or disability. EAD is part of this network with centres in Thetford and Colchester. In addition to guidance regarding adapted controls and wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAV), its OTs and Driving Advisors provide additional advice regarding mobility scooters, powerchairs and wheelchairs.
The open day showcased several adapted cars and WAVs from the EAD fleet which included a variety of specialist driving controls and disabled driver and upfront passenger solutions. Visitors were also able to meet several specialist manufacturers which included TGA mobility scooters, Autochair car boot hoists and the WAV convertor Sirus Automotive. The TGA mobility scooter test drive course proved to be busy all day with OTs trialing products and gaining new insight. CEA Mobility, Andys Kars and David Relph also assisted with vehicle adaptations during the event.
Yvette Bateman, CEO, East Anglian DriveAbility, comments: “Our official opening was a significant success for visitors and our charity. Attendees told us they gained so much from coming to the event and hence we now plan to hold an open day annually at either our Thetford or Colchester centre. It was a delight to welcome lots of OT students from the UEA who gained invaluable vehicle and product knowledge for future client prescriptions. Thank you to all the EAD team for organising such a positive event and we appreciate the support of several manufacturers who attended and added depth to our showcase. We are proud of our new facilities which give us the platform to expand services so independent mobility is achievable for many more people whether that’s in a car or any other mode of accessible transport.”
Occupational Therapists discover the national voice of adapted motoring at RCOT – Driving Mobility
Driving Mobility, the charity that accredits a nationwide network of driving assessment centres, has successfully exhibited at the latest Royal College of Occupational Therapists Conference
Driving Mobility, the charity that accredits a nationwide network of driving assessment centres, has successfully exhibited at the latest Royal College of Occupational Therapists Conference (RCOT).
The team representing Driving Mobility which included Occupational Therapists (OTs), Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) and centre managers welcomed healthy numbers of OTs onto their stand at the conference.
Information was available to all delegates regarding Driving Mobility services which provides professional driving assessments and advice for individuals with restricted mobility. This support can signpost clients to suitable adapted controls, wheelchair accessible vehicles, training and further services. Centres operate as either independent charities or as part of an NHS Trust so that service users can gain, or retain, the ability to drive following a diagnosis involving impairment or disability. Individuals can self-refer or are signposted by the DVLA, Motability, Police and healthcare professionals such as OTs and GPs.
In addition to discovering information and seeing specialist steering controls, delegates were able to experience a vehicle simulator on the stand which proved to be very popular. This interactive feature replicated equipment at many centres which is used to measure driver capabilities in a clinically-led format. By sitting in the driving seat OTs were able to more clearly consider the many aspects to consider when assessing a client’s ability to drive safely.
Edward Trewhella, Chief Executive, Driving Mobility comments: “We were delighted that RCOT provided a successful showcase for Driving Mobility services and many delegates benefited from our exhibition display. As many regard us as the national voice for adapted motoring, being able to engage with so many OTs face-to-face is an invaluable opportunity to explain our client-centred ethos. As the national umbrella charity for all the centres, we believe in delivering independence for all and our strong relationship with healthcare professionals is key to achieving this promise.”