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Evidenced-Based Guidelines Needed to Determine Fitness to Drive After Critical Illness

Kelly Potter

Dr. Potter

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kelly Potter, PhD, RN, CNE
T32 Postdoctoral Scholar
CRISMA Center, Department of Critical Care Medicine
University of Pittsburgh

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: While it is well-recognized that survivors of critical illness often experience persistent problems with mental, cognitive, and physical health, very little is known about how these problems (collectively known as post-intensive care syndrome (PICS)) affect resumption of meaningful activities, such as driving.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response:  . We found that in a sample of 126 patients seen at 1-month follow-up in a critical illness recovery center, only 16 had resumed driving and half of these patients exhibited abnormal cognition that would warrant fitness-to-drive assessments.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? Any practical advice? 

Response: A systematic approach to evaluating of fitness-to-drive is needed in critical illness survivors to get patients back on the road at the right time for them—not too early to pose a risk to themselves and others if they are unfit to drive, but not too late that it prevents them from returning to work, activities they enjoy, and accessing their necessary follow-up. Given the large population of ICU survivors at risk for PICS-related impairments after critical illness, including COVID-19, clinicians and patients urgently need evidence-based guidelines for resumption of driving after critical illness.


Potter KM, Danesh V, Butcher BW, Eaton TL, McDonald AD, Girard TD. Return to Driving After Critical Illness. JAMA Intern Med. Published online March 27, 2023. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2022.7096

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Last Updated on March 29, 2023 by Marie Benz