In this ‘Connected Care Story’ our team helped a young woman regain her independence and learn to drive using adaptive equipment.
Lisa* is a client who had cancer in her right leg that resulted in an amputation just below the knee. Due to her circumstances, she did not believe she would ever be able to drive again. Her inability to drive affected her independence and quality of life as she had to rely on others for transportation. Lisa was given a prosthetic leg and was very independent in other aspects of her life, however this did not include driving.
Lisa was referred to CBI Health from the Ministry of Transportation (MTO). She came to CBI Health for a functional driving assessment with a driving instructor and occupational therapist to assess her ability to try alternative driving methods. It was recommended that she use a left foot accelerator which would allow her to drive regularly, controlling the brake and gas pedals with her left foot. As part of the CBI Health Driver Assessment and Rehabilitation Program, Lisa was taught how to accelerate, brake, and drive safely on the road while using her left foot.
Lisa’s driving sessions began on a closed course as she was starting with a G1 license. It was important to not only teach her how to use the adaptive driving equipment, but also proper driving techniques. Lisa’s occupational therapist provided her with education about the adaptive driving equipment including how it is set up in a vehicle. With her driving instructor, she practiced braking and accelerating using her left foot and eventually she was able to move up to low traffic areas such as parking lots and quiet residential neighbourhoods. She practiced left and right turns, driving maneuvers, and driving at different speeds to help her get used to using her left foot.
Over time, and with lots of practice, Lisa's skill level improved and so did her confidence as a driver. After three months, Lisa was reassessed, and she passed her road test. A restriction was placed on her license that allows her to drive with the specialized equipment.
She is now able to drive in a variety of traffic environments, which has resulted in increased independence and ultimately improved her quality of life. Our team at CBI Health was also able to reach out to War Amps with a letter of support for Lisa’s need for driver rehab and adaptive equipment and was able to obtain funding for these expenses. Lisa is excited to be able to drive on her own and is grateful to her occupational therapist and our team at CBI Health for helping her regain her independence.
*Client’s name has been changed.