Predictors of Driving Cessation in Dementia: Baseline Characteristics and Trajectories of Disease Progression

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A diagnosis of dementia implies the eventual need to relinquish driving. This is associated with significant morbidity and anticipating when it will need to occur can be important for planning. Patients, however, vary in the course of their disease. We sought to identify predictors of driving cessation in patients with dementia, including both baseline characteristics and changes in cognition and function over time as indicators of disease trajectory. A total of 779 patients with dementia were recruited from 9 memory clinics around Australia. Patients and their carers reported their driving status and completed measures of dementia severity, cognition, function, neuropsychiatric symptoms, and medication use at regular intervals over a 3-year period. Of the 247 patients still driving at baseline, 147 (59.5%) stopped driving during the study. Variables that predicted driving cessation included older age; female sex; greater dementia severity and cognitive and functional impairments at baseline; and greater increases in dementia severity and cognitive and functional impairments over 3 and 6 month periods. The findings confirm that easily assessable characteristics, including changes over time, predict future driving status. The findings underscore the value of regularly assessing patients with standardized measures to determine disease trajectory and likely prognosis

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