Driving with dementia: New guidelines advise when it's time to stop

New guidelines have been published to help doctors and health care professionals assess when people living with dementia should stop driving.

'Driving with Dementia or Mild Cognitive Impairment' - created by Newcastle University and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) - helps medical teams with the appropriate assessment and management of people living with the condition.

Dr. John-Paul Taylor, clinical senior lecturer at Newcastle University, said: "This can be a difficult conversation for anyone to have, whether you're a family member or doctor, because losing the ability to drive can have a significant impact on someone's independence and well-being."

"However, someone who is no longer safe to drive can be a source of concern for families and loved ones and may also put the driver and others at risk."

The guidance should give greater clarity to people with dementia and those supporting them as to what to expect when being assessed for fitness to drive.

Changes in driving that indicate it is becoming unsafe include:

- Unable to hold a steady course in a defined lane—difficulty in following subtle changes in the course of the road

- Repeated failure to respond in busy environments such as junctions or crossings

- Seeming 'overwhelmed' in everyday driving situations

- Decline in ability to make independent decisions when driving

- Verbal prompt required by passenger

- Over-correction or erratic correction to changes in road direction or the environment

- Failing to release the handbrake

- Failing to check for hazards before moving off

- Trouble changing gears or missed gear changes

- Heightened passenger vigilance

For more information visit: https://research.ncl.ac.uk/driving-and-dementia/consensusguidelinesforclinicians/


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