Keeping Us Safe, an international organization headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, has developed a program specifically designed to prevent roadway tragedies involving older drivers with diminished driving skills.
The program, titled “Beyond Driving with Dignity”, is a self-assessment program designed to help older drivers and their families make appropriate driving decisions in response to age-related diminishing driving skills.
The program has already been adopted by several of Cleveland’s local hospitals. As well, physicians (primary care, general practitioners and neurologists) from medical offices in both the Cleveland and Akron areas are now referring clients to Keeping Us Safe’s unique and innovative self-assessment program.
The program is expected to spread across the nation’s medical community over the course of the year. “The program’s life-saving abilities are already being recognized on a national level”, says Matt Gurwell, Founder & CEO of Keeping Us Safe.
“The ‘Beyond Driving with Dignity’ program is designed to help older drivers with diminishing driving skills make a smooth transition from the driver's seat to the passenger seat without deterioration to their dignity, personal pride or independence. In addition, the program helps prevent injuries, reduce medical costs and eliminate insurance claims. However the program’s primary purpose is to save lives and to provide concerned families with peace of mind.”, says Gurwell.
The 3-hour session, individualized sessions include an in-depth interview with the older driver, input from concerned family members, several cognitively-based screening tools, a review of one’s medical history and an actual on-road driving exercise. The sessions are conducted by one of Keeping Us Safe’s Certified “Beyond Driving with Dignity” Professionals currently deployed through-out the United States and Canada.
“It is very gratifying to see that the medical community recognizes the value this program brings to their patients and to the communities they serve. Having nurses, social workers and other hospital professionals trained and certified in the ‘Beyond Driving with Dignity’ program helps make the program more accessible to families in need of such a service.” Gurwell said.
When asked what the turning point was for starting Keeping Us Safe, Gurwell explains: "There was never one particular event. It was the result of 20-plus years of holding dying people in my arms at terrible car accidents, and delivering dozens and dozens of death notifications to families. I would much rather work with families bringing a peaceful resolve to this sensitive and uncomfortable issue now, rather than have them deal with it when a State Trooper is knocking on their front door".
Keeping Us Safe’s programs have been recognized by the NY Times, the Kiplinger Retirement Report, the Canadian Medical Association Journal, The Huffington Post and the National Institute on Aging’s Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center.
The program has now been adopted by the Parma Community Hospital, Southwest General Health Center and University Hospitals system.
To learn more about becoming a Certified “Beyond Driving with Dignity” Professional or to schedule a self-assessment for your loved one, visit Keeping Us Safe at http://www.keepingussafe.org, or telephone 877-907-8841.