After a serious illness or injury, most people are eager to resume their former independent lifestyles, including driving a vehicle. However, there can be questions about safely driving for those with:
- A new or existing medical condition (stroke, head injury, spinal cord injury, encephalopathy, mental health issues, etc.).
- A progressive condition (suspected dementia, Alzheimer's disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, etc.).
- Physical or cognitive challenges (learning / developmental disabilities, Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, etc.)
- New drivers with a medical condition (such as listed above).
UnityPoint Health - Meriter's unique driver's readiness evaluation process includes a functional comprehensive occupational therapy evaluation to identify strengths and difficulties related to driving. Our highly trained therapists assess specific physical, visual, and cognitive abilities, including adequate reaction speed, visual perception and processing, spatial skills, memory and attention. The results are given to your referring physician to assist in the final decision about your ability to drive. A referral from your primary or rehabilitation medicine physician is required. To schedule an appointment or for more information about this service please call the number below. We welcome having your support people accompany you as we understand this is an individual decision, but often a family decision as well.
To schedule an appointment please call UnityPoint Health - Meriter Therapy Central (608) 417-8250.
Healthcare plans often cover the clinic evaluation. However, most do not pay for the Behind-the-Wheel assessment – agency fee schedules and contact information are available at the time of the evaluation.
Note: This service does not include In-Vehicle assessments. However, we can refer you to qualified community agencies that specialize in Behind-the-Wheel assessments in a vehicle that can be modified, if necessary, for specific safety needs and limitations. UnityPoint Health-Meriter Therapy does not have the authority to grant or take away a driver's license. That authority rests only with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT).
Our goal is to provide the client, family and referring physician with the best available information about how to return to driving safely. Evaluation findings may not support a return to driving. However, often times, limitations can be addressed with therapy. This program is not authorized to evaluate driving safety required to operate commercial vehicles or to obtain or maintain a commercial driver's license (CDL). We can evaluate whether a driver may be safe driving a standard car, which is the first step in returning to drive with a commercial license.