Sunday, October 26, 2014

CarFit: Something Every OT Should Learn About!

Back to my blog home page

THANK YOU to those who continue to write and ask me questions or who simply say thank you for the info I've shared over the past several years.  You have inspired me to begin writing again after 15 months. I am no longer a traveler and am now spending most of my time in management. Last year, I went permanent with a great company in a lovely area of the Pacific Northwest. This Kansas City girl is still not quite sure why she is here! One thing I've learned, though, is that we must follow our gut feelings!
Life is the same here as when I travelled - it's the client/patient/resident interaction that drives me daily and contributes to insights, understandings, and revelations.
Shouldn't we all be learning every day?!
In that spirit, I recently became a Certified CarFit Technician! I had the great pleasure of collaborating with the local University's OT program and the local technical college's OT assistant program to promote a CarFit event at my sub-acute building. (By the way, shout out to Kate, one of the OT students, how nice to find out you follow my blog!)

What is CarFit?
The above logo and following information are shared from the CarFit Manual & website:

CarFit was created by the American Society on Aging and developed in collaboration with AAA, AARP, and the American Occupational Therapy Association. The goal is to educate mature drivers about their personal “fit” in their vehicles. They created an open environment that encourages conversation about driving. Through their CarFit events, technicians like me are able to provide information, education, and community based resources to mature drivers in a non-threatening way to recommend options for their ideal safety.
Rather than going point by point about the process of the event, let me tell you some highlights of the program. If you’re a student or a current therapist, you can always coordinate with local facilities or programs to promote an event for your community!
CarFit technicans are trained to review a 12-point CarFit Checklist with each driver. Following completion of the checklist, the driver will meet with either an occupational therapy professional or a driver rehabilitation specialist for the final checkout.

Carfit Checklist

During the Checklist, drivers learn about the fit of the seatbelts, the head rest, the steering wheel, the gas/brake pedals, and all the mirrors. They are also educated how to reduce or eliminate their blind spot using the technique below.
The BGE (BlindSpot and Glare Elimination) mirror setting was developed by George Platzer in 1996. With this new setting, you never have to take your eyes off the road to check blind spots. Also, glare is almost completely eliminated from side mirrors. Adapted from Driver’s Ed Guru, the instructions for setting up your mirrors in this fashion are as follows:
  • Place your head against the driver’s side window and adjust the driver’s side mirror so you can barely see the driver’s side of your car.
  • Move your head as close to the center of the car as possible and adjust the passenger’s side mirror so you can barely see the passenger’s side of your car.
  • To check your BGE settings, watch as a car passes you in an adjacent lane. It should enter your outside mirror before it leaves the rearview (inside) mirror. Also, the car should appear in your peripheral vision before it leaves the outside mirror.
  • Remember, your inside rearview mirror is your primary mirror and it will take time to get accustomed to no longer seeing the sides of your car in the side mirrors.
 Neat, yes? I love when I learn something new!

During the final checkout, OT practitioners have the opportunity to educate mature drivers about adaptive equipment to improve safety, including a swivel cushion to increase ability to get on and off the seat, a wide angle rear-view mirror, and an adaptive key turner for people who have wrist or fine motor deficits.
There is so much more; this is only a snapshot. I learned a lot during this experience! I highly recommend that every OT learn how to complete the CarFit Checklist and make recommendations to their patients who drive before they complete their rehabilitation.
Consider it the last piece of the puzzle, along with all other IADLs, before you graduate them to home!
I encourage all of you to check into CarFit.
I CHALLENGE you to promote an event!
Make a difference!

1 comment:

  1. I am so glad you have decided to continue your blog! I just stumbled upon it while trying to build up enthusiasm to look for a new OT position after being a stay at home mom for the past 2 years and these posts are just what I needed to remember all that I love about occupational therapy!