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posted: 12/7/2012 2:24 PM

New program helps injured drivers return to road

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  • A new driver rehabilitation program is offered at Centegra Health Systems. It is designed for individuals who may have experienced a traumatic injury or serious illness to help return to driving safely.

       A new driver rehabilitation program is offered at Centegra Health Systems. It is designed for individuals who may have experienced a traumatic injury or serious illness to help return to driving safely.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer, 2007

 

Submitted by Centegra Health System

Centegra Health System has announced a new driver rehabilitation program that focuses on helping individuals who may have experienced a traumatic injury or serious illness return to driving safely.

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The Centegra Driver Rehabilitation program provides a comprehensive assessment and training that will help determine if it is safe to drive again. Centegra Health System employs a licensed occupational therapist, who is a driving rehabilitation specialist and certified driving instructor.

The security department at Centegra Hospital-Woodstock previously used the specially adapted car before donating it to the Centegra Neuro-Rehabilitation Center. The Centegra Health System Foundation donated more than $3,500 for equipment and Mobility Products & Design donated another $1,500 for equipment and $2,500 for installation.

"Driving rehabilitation specialists have unique skills necessary to address the need of driving in a wide array of clients," said Barb Wasilk, program supervisor at the Centegra Neuro-Rehabilitation Center in Crystal Lake. "They are able to understand disabilities of all types and have a background in vision and visual problems, an in-depth understanding of cognition and how it affects the skill of driving and the physical requirements for driving when working with the elderly or people with disabilities."

The program consists of a two-part evaluation and takes about three hours. A clinical portion assesses the skills an individual needs for driving and will determine if the patient meets the visual requirements set by the state of Illinois for driving. About one and a half hours of behind the wheel testing will be completed with a driving rehabilitation specialist. To assess behind-the-wheel skills, a car has been adapted with safety equipment, hand controls and other assistive devices to meet the needs of patients. This will assess the patient's driving ability on all types of roads, including interstate.

"The results will be sent to the ordering physician," Wasilk said. "Patients who pass the driving evaluation are instructed to talk with their physician before they resume driving to obtain medical clearance. If a physician feels that a patient should not drive based on the results of the evaluation, the physician should notify the Secretary of State's office."

If the patient needs additional training, flexible scheduling is offered by calling the Centegra Neuro-Rehabilitation Center at (815) 356-2700. Some out-of-pocket costs may be incurred if additional training is needed.

Those wishing to participate in the program should have a doctor's order with a diagnosis, a valid driver's license and a list of current medications. Payment is due prior to all on the road evaluations and training sessions.

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