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Few Elderly Patients Discuss Driving With Primary Physicians

Seniors more likely to have discussion if they go to geriatric clinic versus general internal medicine clinic

TUESDAY, July 5, 2016 (HealthDay News) — A minority of older adults who visit primary care providers have documented discussions about driving, according to research published in the June issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Marian E. Betz, M.D., M.P.H., from the University of Colorado in Aurora, and colleagues conducted an observational retrospective medical record review involving a random sample of 240 older adults (aged 65 years and older) from three primary care clinics (geriatric, hospital-based general internal medicine [GIM], and community-based GIM).

The researchers found that the oldest participants and those with more medical diagnoses visited the geriatric clinic, and they had a median of four visits in 2014 (compared with three in GIM clinics). The proportion of participants with documented discussions about driving was higher in the geriatric and GIM hospital clinics compared with the GIM community clinic (28 and 19 percent, respectively, versus 7.5 percent). There was no correlation between medical diagnoses that could impact driving, which were prevalent, with the frequency of discussions. Participants who went to the geriatric clinic or had a primary care provider younger than 45 years or who worked fewer than six half-day clinics per week were more likely to have one or more documented driving discussions in 2014, in multivariable analysis.

“Strategies to support routine and preparatory conversations about driving should incorporate these findings and might vary among clinic settings,” the authors write.

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