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Physicians Enlisted in Efforts to Keep Demented Drivers Off the Road

ed by the State Highway Patrol.

"Officials with the Department of Revenue, with the State Highway Patrol, and with the Missouri Department of Transportation have been an absolute joy to work with," Meuser notes. "They are very concerned about older driver safety and have welcomed us as researchers with open arms." Pat Niewoehner, workshop coauthor and a driver rehabilitation specialist with the St. Louis Veteran's Administration Medical Center, demonstrates the role of the occupational therapist - driver rehabilitation specialist in evaluating medical fitness to drive. Another coauthor, Marla Berg-Weger, Ph.D., professor of social work at Saint Louis University, shows physicians how they can cooperate with family members to eliminate patient access to driving and seek alternate forms of transportation that allow patients to continue to lead fulfilling lives. Included is a videotaped dramatization of a physician working with a demented patient and a family member.

"It's important for healthcare providers to realize there are others who can help," Meuser says. The workshop was created with funding provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Institute of Aging through the ADRC and John C. Morris, M.D., the Friedman Distinguished Professor of Neurology and ADRC director.

Additional educational efforts and research studies are or will soon be underway with support from NHTSA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the AMA and the American Society of Aging.

"This is an exciting time for research and education in support of older driver safety, and there's a role for just about everyone in these efforts," says Meuser. "Above all, we must work together to ensure that older adults can remain mobile and productive even when they have to give up driving."

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