Journal of Gerontological Nursing

Diagnosis: Dementia 

Driving and Dementia: What Nurses Need to Know

Nina M. Flanagan, GNP-BC, APMH-BC

Abstract

Driving is considered an instrumental activity of daily living and, for many older adults, is also associated with the ability to maintain independence. The diagnosis of dementia, distressing on its own, paired with the threat to driving independence, makes this a difficult issue for patients, families, and clinicians. The purpose of this article is to provide a brief overview of the current research regarding driving safety and dementia, guidelines that can be used to assess driving risk, and counseling tips for patients and families regarding driving safety.


Abstract

Driving is considered an instrumental activity of daily living and, for many older adults, is also associated with the ability to maintain independence. The diagnosis of dementia, distressing on its own, paired with the threat to driving independence, makes this a difficult issue for patients, families, and clinicians. The purpose of this article is to provide a brief overview of the current research regarding driving safety and dementia, guidelines that can be used to assess driving risk, and counseling tips for patients and families regarding driving safety.


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Authors

Ms. Flanagan is part-time Faculty, Decker School of Nursing, Binghamton University, Binghamton, New York, and Geriatric Nurse Practitioner, Mountain View Care Center, Scranton, Pennsylvania.

The author discloses that she has no significant financial interests in any product or class of products discussed directly or indirectly in this activity, including research support.

Address correspondence to Nina M. Flanagan, GNP-BC, APMH-BC, Geriatric Nurse Practitioner, Mountain View Care Center, 2309 Stafford Avenue, Scranton, PA 18505; e-mail: ninais1@aol.com.

Posted Online: June 15, 2011

10.3928/00989134-20110602-07

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