Assessing Cognitive Ability and Simulator-Based Driving Performance in Poststroke Adults

Publisher's full text
Alison Blane
Hoe C. Lee
Torbjorn Falkmer
Tania Dukic Willstrand

Driving is an important activity of daily living, which is increasingly relied upon as the population ages. It has been well-established that cognitive processes decline following a stroke and these processes may influence driving performance. There is much debate on the use of off-road neurological assessments and driving simulators as tools to predict driving performance; however, the majority of research uses unlicensed poststroke drivers, making the comparability of poststroke adults to that of a control group difficult. It stands to reason that in order to determine whether simulators and cognitive assessments can accurately assess driving performance, the baseline should be set by licenced drivers. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess differences in cognitive ability and driving simulator performance in licensed community-dwelling poststroke drivers and controls. Two groups of licensed drivers (37 poststroke and 43 controls) were assessed using several cognitive tasks and using a driving simulator. The poststroke adults exhibited poorer cognitive ability; however, there were no differences in simulator performance between groups except that the poststroke drivers demonstrated less variability in driver headway. The application of these results as a prescreening toolbox for poststroke drivers is discussed.

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