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.”
Driving Mobility to showcase driving assessment services at Royal College of Occupational Therapists Conference
Driving Mobility OTs, ADIs and centre managers will be available to explain how the charity can support client occupational performance and help meet the challenges OTs face, in terms of facilitating mobility outside of the home.
Occupational Therapists representing Driving Mobility, the national charity which oversees 20 independent driving assessment centres across the UK, will be presenting their services at the 2019 RCOT Conference.
RCOT Annual Conference and Exhibition, stand 62. 17-18 June 2019, ICC Birmingham. #RCOT2019
Many with outreach capabilities, Driving Mobility centres include independent charities and facilities operating within the NHS that deliver professional assessments so disabled and elderly people can gain or retain independence. Each centre employs Occupational Therapists (OTs), Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) and Administration staff so 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. Over and above driving assessments and advice regarding vehicle adaptations, centres provide a vast range of further information regarding accessible air, bus and train travel – all of which will be displayed on stand 62.
Driving Mobility OTs, ADIs and centre managers will be available to explain how the charity can support client occupational performance and help meet the challenges OTs face, in terms of facilitating mobility outside of the home. These representatives will be from two of the independent regional organisations within the Driving Mobility national network – RDAC and the William Merritt Disabled Living Centre.
Offering an interactive experience, there will be a vehicle simulator on the stand for delegates to try which will highlight parts of the Driving Mobility assessments. This feature is a replica of the equipment at many centres which is used to measure driver capabilities in a clinically-led format. By sitting in the driving seat OTs will understand more clearly aspects to consider when assessing client needs, wants and risks.
Edward Trewhella, Chief Executive, Driving Mobility comments: “We are delighted to be showcasing Driving Mobility services at the RCOT conference for the first time. Our interactive vehicle simulator and comprehensive information display will provide an opportunity for delegates seeking professional guidance in relation to independent mobility. Driving Mobility OTs work closely with fellow peers in the public and private sector to ensure their clients can benefit from inclusion and accessibility within the community. This effective relationship provides solutions to many common transportation issues and hence we look forward to forging new connections at the conference which will result in wider support across the UK.”
Claire with Cerebral Palsy achieves driving independence dream thanks to North West Driving Assessment Service
Claire Holtaway achieves her goal to drive independently with Merseyside’s North West Driving Assessment Service.
Claire Holtaway, 26 from Birkenhead, has achieved her goal to drive independently with Cerebral Palsy through the guidance and support of Merseyside’s North West Driving Assessment Service.
Accredited by the national charity Driving Mobility, North West Driving Assessment Service (NWDAS) is part of the Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust based in St Helens, Merseyside. Its specialist team of Occupational Therapists and Approved Driving Instructors provide professional support and driving assessments to people who need to gain, or retain, the ability to drive following a diagnosis involving impairment or disability. They have recently introduced car seat and harness assessment clinics for disabled children and mobility scooter assessments to their range of services.
Claire, now age 26, developed an interest in learning to drive at the age of 19. Following discussions with several friends with disabilities, she was encouraged to investigate how and where she could turn her dream into a reality. Claire comments: “My parents came across NWDAS through a friend whose daughter attended assessments there whilst learning to drive. I decided to contact them for advice and was invited to an initial meeting with an OT. We discussed my medical history and my physical and visual abilities so the Centre could plan effectively with me how to reach my goal.”
In August 2012, Claire began driving assessments at NWDAS which continued for four years. As well as learning to drive a car, it was important Claire found the most comfortable and suitable vehicle adaptations to ensure safe driving. During this time, the Centre trialled a variety of specialist driving aids as well as cushions and backrests until the best accessible options were identified.
Claire continues: “It was a slow process – which was exactly what I needed to build my confidence and to provide me with enough road practice. My assessor, Dave, was incredibly patient throughout. He tried many different mobility aids in a bid to simplify the driving process for me. Initially, we tried a Lodgesons Lollipop infa-red hand control on the steering wheel to operate the indicators, horn, window wipers etc. but I found this quite difficult to use. So, for a while, I drove an automatic car with dual controls whilst Dave controlled the indicators and anything else that I struggled with.”
After a few years, the NWDAS staff suggested to Claire that she should try the hand control again and she found it now suited her well. In addition, they recommended an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI), Martin Vivers, who could provide specialist tuition from home. In May 2017 Claire successfully passed her driving test at the first attempt. Whilst she continues to take refresher lessons with Martin to retain road confidence, she acknowledges that being able to drive has been a huge boost to her independence.
Claire concludes: “Martin has been such a supportive mentor throughout – building on my skills, knowledge and confidence, and taking me to test level! Having obtained my driving licence, I have now moved to my first flat in Greasby. I have also just started driving a VW Transporter which enables me to transfer from my wheelchair independently. I access the car through a boot lift and lock my wheelchair down in the back of the vehicle. I use a swivel driving seat as well which assists me with mobility. My car has all the correct accessories and adaptations that I require for driving independence and I happily credit this to the help I received from NWDAS – the team’s support went way beyond my expectations. The staff at the Centre have been incredibly understanding and I now know that driving is indeed a possibility!”