The Lived Experience of Drivers with Spinal Cord Injury

Mtetwa, L., Classen, S., & Van Niekerk, L (2016). The lived experience of drivers with spinal cord injury. South African Journal of Occupational Therapy, 46(3), 55-62.

Driving is an instrumental activity of daily living that facilitates meaningful community participation. There is little literature on the fitness to drive of persons with spinal cord injury. This research sought to elucidate driving experiences of persons post spinal cord injury, specifically how they perceive their driving, driver rehabilitation, and return to driving. Fourteen participants were recruited into this study using purposive sampling. Data collection was done through face-to-face and semi-structured interviews. Six themes emerged from this study: 1) adjusting to limitations; 2) safety perceptions and influencing factors; 3) the positive role of driving; 4) contextual features and supports; 5) environmental barriers; and 6) inconsistent provision of rehabilitation services. These findings suggest that occupational therapists should consider utilizing driving rehabilitation services and mediation approaches for persons with spinal cord injury.