Health professionals’ knowledge of driving restrictions following stroke and TIA: experience from a hyperacute stroke centre

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Abstract

Background and purpose

Assessment of fitness to drive (FTD) is important after stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA) to ensure that neither patients nor public are at risk. This is particularly important in patients with TIAs or minor stroke as many are discharged directly from emergency departments by a range of health professionals. We assessed stroke-related FTD knowledge among physicians’ and allied health professionals’ (AHPs) treating patients with stroke at a hyperacute stroke centre.

Methods

Knowledge of FTD restrictions following a stroke or TIA for domestic and commercial use was assessed in 195 physicians and 45 AHPs using a multiple-choice questionnaire between January and December 2009. The effect of discipline, seniority, previous instruction in FTD restrictions and experience in stroke medicine on FTD was assessed.

Results

The correct driving restriction following stroke with domestic and commercial license was known to 29% and 73% of physicians, respectively. For AHPs, these figures were 36% and 20%. For TIA with domestic and commercial license, this was 37% and 43% for physicians, and 44% and 11% for AHPs. 25% of physicians and 11% of AHPs believed that no driving restrictions applied after a TIA. The correct office for reporting FTD was known to 180 (92%) doctors and 31 (69%) AHPs (p=0.0001); 160 (82%) physicians and 27 (60%) AHPs correctly identified that reporting was the patients’ responsibility (p=0.001). FTD knowledge correlated with post in stroke (OR 3.2 (95% CI 1.6 to 6.2, p=0.001)) but not with seniority or previous FTD education.

Conclusions

Health professionals providing stroke care showed limited knowledge of FTD regulations after minor stroke or TIA. Imparting accurate information on driving restrictions is an important but neglected part of stroke management.

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