As the referring OT, what should I know about my local driver specialist?

What questions should I be asking my local driver specialist?

An occupational therapist just reached out to me with the following question, “How do I find a good driver specialist?” This OT works in an outpatient clinic. She sees a wide range of diagnoses and has recently started completing pre-driving screens, or clinical assessments. She is looking for a reliable referral source for those patients who need a behind-the-wheel evaluation and has found 2 options in her area but would like to know more before making the referral.

As the OT, shopping for my patients, I might ask the following questions:

  • As a driver rehab specialist, what is your training and background?
  • Where is your clinic located & when do you see driving evaluations?
  • Do you utilize the OT DRIVE frame of reference for determining driving risk? Will we be speaking the same language?
  • Here is the clinical testing we are completing in our clinic (name). Does this align with what you use and are looking for or is there anything you would like added?
  • For those patients who would benefit from a driving evaluation, what do you need from us? A copy of the clinical assessment? a doctor’s order? etc.
  • Will you be willing to provide our referred patients a discount on your evaluation, since they will have completed the clinical assessment with us?
  • What is the cost of the evaluation? (Patients will want to know)
  • How long is your waiting list?
  • What type of vehicle will the patients be driving?
  • How long are your typical evaluations? (so we can tell the clients)
  • Does the patient need a valid license to participate in the behind-the-wheel evaluation with you?
  • Does your program have any type of adaptive equipment? If yes, what?
  • Could our two organizations sign a Business Associates Agreement (BAA) so we can communicate freely?
  • Will you provide us with a follow up on how our patient did?
  • How do you work with the state licensing agency?
  • As our local DRS are you open to us reaching with questions about potential referrals?
I strongly encourage you to open up the lines of communication. While we all have busy schedules, a good DRS will take the time to answer all of your questions and concerns. Remember not all practitioners are created equal. Look to find a DRS who shares an understanding of your background in occupational therapy, as well as a medical professional. There are lots of us out there and more and more are advancing their skills every day.

Next steps…

  • To connect with other occupational therapy practitioners passionate about driving, join Driving Rehab for the OT. All OTs, OTAs, & OTs are welcomed!
  • For help finding a specialist in your area, reach out to Adaptive Mobility. We will always lend a hand!

Susie Touchinsky

Susie Touchinsky, OTR/L, SCDCM, CDRS is an occupational therapist and certified driver rehabilitation specialist offering decades of experience, knowledge, and professional support for drivers, families, caregivers, and practitioners.