Influence of the rehabilitation outcome on returning to drive after neurological impairment

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In traumatic brain injury (TBI) and stroke rehabilitation, the question of reintegration of the driver into traffic is faced very often. Driving is an important domain and for some patients, return to driving represents a crucial event for community inclusion. The aim of our study was to examine the utility of Glasgow Coma Scale within the first 24 h of injury and the Functional Independence Measure (FIM) at rehabilitation admission for predicting the return to driving. We included 72 patients after TBI or stroke. Driving outcome was assessed in terms of being allowed to drive without restrictions as opposed to failing the test or being allowed to drive with restrictions. We examined two samples: the TBI patients only and the entire sample including patients after stroke. The results indicate that for TBI patients, Glasgow Coma Scale and motor FIM could be predictors of driving outcome; in the entire sample, the unrestricted driving outcome was also associated with a high score on the FIM motor scale. Early prediction of return to driving after TBI and stroke is important for the patients, their families and the rehabilitation teams to set realistic goals that enable the best possible reintegration after rehabilitation.

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