Independence is a major goal of every rehabilitation program. For over 30 years, the driver rehabilitation program at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital has offered a unique way for patients to return to this crucial aspect of their lives. Our specially equipped vehicles, which include a variety of hand controls, steering devices, and pedal modifications, represent an exciting new phase in the lives of many people recovering from major injuries, or people living with a range of disabilities. In many cases, conditions that formerly kept people close to home are overcome with modern adaptations and specialized training, providing an enormous boost in quality of life as well as economic opportunity, when people are able to travel independently to work.
Driver rehab: Our approach
Led by a licensed occupational therapist and a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist with over 20 years in the field, our Driver Rehab program takes a multi-pronged approach, from assessment to training to driver certification and ongoing support. A vital pre-driving assessment focuses on several factors:
- visual skills
- reaction time
- flexibility and physical ability
- attention and memory
Once an initial assessment is completed and a driver rehabilitation program patient is ready to proceed, they can begin driving with our certified instructors using the adaptive equipment and vehicles maintained by the program. We begin with short trips within the hospital grounds, and when the new or re-learning driver is ready, they can take to the regular road with our instructors. Finally, a Bryn Mawr Rehab instructor can accompany drivers to the state exam site for testing in a specially equipped vehicle. The support continues after the test, with detailed equipment prescriptions for the driver’s own vehicle, and a list of vendors who can provide and install the gear.
The Driver Rehabilitation Program at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital aids more than 400 people every year and is licensed by the PA Department of Education. We help people of all ages get safely on the road with the help they need. Our clients include:
- new drivers with physical challenges like cerebral palsy, spina bifida or short stature
- Senior citizens looking to safely retain their independence
- teenagers with learning disabilities or attention deficit disorder
- people who are re-learning to drive after an illness or a stroke, spinal cord injury,brain injury, or amputation
- families who want to make a van wheelchair-friendly
Working with senior citizens in the Philadelphia area is another important part of the driver rehab services Bryn Mawr Rehab offers. There are many ways to accommodate the declining physical abilities of older people, helping them to safely retain their independence as long as possible. Our specialists facilitate this in many ways:
- routine assessments to ensure safety on the road
- defensive driving techniques
- energy conservation strategies
- exercises for increased flexibility
- modifications for reduced height
- new glasses
- strategies that avoid rush hour, limit driving to daylight hours and divide long trips into shorter segments
At Bryn Mawr Rehab, we’re committed to helping patients reach maximum independence through innovative therapies and rehabilitation programs like Driver Rehab.