Waco: Hospital creates driving evaluation program

(Photo by Christy Soto)
(Photo by Christy Soto)(KWTX)
Published: May. 3, 2019 at 1:32 PM CDT
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Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center has created a program to evaluate people’s driving capabilities.

“We have been on a two-year journey to create this program with the goal of making our roads safer,” Trevor Carlson, the hospital’s director of rehab services, said.

The program is geared to evaluate driving capabilities of the elderly, victims of a stroke or an accident who may have lost range of motion.

Carlson says there are two parts to the program, a clinic assessment and an on-the-road assessment.

He says in the clinical assessment patients will work with an occupational therapist to evaluate range in motion, strength, coordination and a cognitive assessment.

Once the patient completes the clinic assessment the therapist will evaluate whether they can proceed to the on the road assessment.

Once it is completed the therapist will determine whether the person is safe to drive a vehicle or needs more training.

Then the therapist will determine whether or not the person should retire from driving.

Carlson says the program is open to the public and is typically done through referrals.

“Your physician can refer you through this program by referring you to an occupational therapist,” Carlson said.

“The clinic assessment is typically covered by insurance and the on the road assessment is typically not covered by insurance it’s about $280 basic assessment and additional charges for the training beyond that.”

Carlson says the program has been open for about two months and has served more than 10 patients.

Richard Caspers was a patient at the hospital after he suffered from a stroke in 2018, which left half of his body paralyzed.

"I spent 22 days in the hospital with no movement on my right side it was either the bed or the wheelchair I could do nothing else," Caspers said.

However, Caspers has always put one foot in front of the other.

“I used to be a runner, I ran half marathons and marathons and always strive for PR personal record,” Caspers said.

Small things like getting dressed and driving a car became impossible feats but he kept one thing in mind.

"Never give up, just never give up,” Caspers said.

Almost a year after the accident Caspers wanted the freedom to drive again and that's when Baylor Scott & White stepped into help with their new driving program.

"The program allows them to have an objective conversation and assessment of whether that person is still safe to be on the road and lead that conversation with professionals and take some of the responsibility off of the family members," occupational therapist Megan Frazier said.

Now after a couple weeks in the program Caspers is back on the road.

"The freedom of driving and knowing I can drive safely because I had the best evaluating my driving," Caspers said.

Now Caspers can enjoy his freedom on the road on wheels or on foot.