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2015 Grants - Ott
Video Feedback Intervention for Cognitively Impaired Older Drivers
Brian R. Ott, M.D.
Rhode Island Hospital
Providence, Rhode Island
2015 Non-Pharmacological Strategies to Ameliorate Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementia Grant
Can video feedback monitoring improve safe driving behaviors in older drivers who are cognitively impaired?
The inability to drive due to memory loss causes a major economic, social and social burden on older Americans. Results from two long-term studies reveal that most drivers with mild cognitive impairment or early dementia can pass a standardized road test, but these drivers are considered at increased risk for an automobile crash. To date, research has focused on identifying red flags that would reveal unsafe drivers among the older population, but less work has been done to improve driving skills in older adults with cognitive impairment who continue to drive. Previous studies of teenage drivers and professional drivers have shown benefits using video feedback monitoring to improve safe driving.
A small pilot study by Brian R. Ott, M.D., and colleagues suggests that a video feedback system may improve driving skills in cognitively impaired older adults. For their current work, the research team aims to study actual driving behaviors in older adults with cognitive impairment so that unsafe behaviors can be identified and modified. The researchers will place small digital video recording devices in the cars of cognitively impaired drivers to establish how often unsafe driving events (hard turns, severe braking and near misses) occur over a 3-month period. The driver and family member will review and provide feedback on the video-recorded driving errors each week. To understand the effectiveness of the intervention program, researchers will compare drivers who received video monitoring and feedback to those who only received video monitoring. They study will also include a 6-month post-intervention phase to determine if the treatment can be sustained over time.
The results of this study will help confirm the potential to improve safe driving among older drivers with cognitive impairment using a behavior modification approach that directly targets the problems observed. If successful, the intervention could also be modified to involve coaching from professional staff to a family member and an internet-based feedback program to make the intervention program widely accessible. The video-monitoring intervention will hopefully allow cognitively impaired adults to safely drive independently for a longer period of time, thus improving their quality of life.