New National Blueprint addresses needs of drivers with arthritis

OTTAWA, May 11, 2017 /CNW/ - Arthritis affects over 4.6 million Canadians of all ages, many of whom rely on driving – for work, leisure or completion of other everyday activities. A new National Blueprint for Injury Prevention in Drivers with Arthritis (Blueprint) has been launched by the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) to address the specific unmet needs of drivers with arthritis. The Blueprint will provide direction to healthcare professionals, researchers, educators and decision makers regarding actions that will promote safe driving practices and injury prevention among these at-risk drivers.

According to research reports, people with arthritis and musculoskeletal diseases are at higher risk for car crashes. When operating a motor vehicle these drivers may experience pain, fatigue, decreased mobility, joint stiffness and decreased reaction time. Because of arthritis, they may have problems with seating for long periods, getting in and out of the car and doing a shoulder check while backing up or changing lanes.

The input of several health professions is required to address the needs of drivers with arthritis. For instance, an occupational therapist can help with sitting position and car adaptations, can evaluate driving abilities, help find alternative transportation and develop driving rehabilitation programs. A physiotherapist can help drivers regain the physical strength required to get in and out of the car and a pharmacist can assist with the optimal use of prescribed pharmacological treatment.

CAOT is dedicated to supporting Canadians in achieving optimal safety behind the wheel and is proud to present this second National Blueprint, building upon the National Blueprint for Injury Prevention in Older Drivers published in 2009 which was directed towards the promotion of driving safety as people age. Occupational therapists take a leadership position in regards to driving rehabilitation services because of their expertise in assessing the interaction between the person, the environment and the occupation – in this case the occupation of driving.

The Blueprint is a collaboration, partly funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and involving a panel of 15 experts and stakeholders that included representatives from the Arthritis Society, Société d'assurances automobile du Québec (SAAQ), the Active Living Coalition for Older Adults (ALCOA), the Council on Aging Ottawa, the Canadian Association of Road Safety Professionals (CARSP), and the Canada Safety Council.


SOURCE Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists

For further information: Pat Underwood, Director of Communications, The Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, 613-523-2268 ext. 229


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