For the past decade, Pinecrest Rehabilitation Hospital has helped patients and community residents get back on the road with adaptive driving tools.
Occupational therapist Chad Rominger heads the program. Rominger has been involved with the program for six years as a certified driver rehab specialist. He has state certifications and works closely with the Driver's License Bureau to help participants in the rehab program get adaptive devices certification, complete road tests and pass written tests.
Rominger said only a few organizations in the county offer adaptive driving programs. He said the VA Hospital in West Palm Beach has the program, while Florida Atlantic University and Pinecrest Rehabilitation Hospital offer a memory disorder driving program.
"Right now, there are about 15 people a month signing up for the adaptive driving program here at Pinecrest," he said. "I'm trained in the use of adaptive equipment, controls like a hand control for people who can't use their feet. Another example is a left-foot accelerator. I work with vendors and find the best fit for adaptive driving devices."
Rominger monitors drivers from the passenger side of a maroon, four-door 2000 Buick Century. He's equipped with a passenger-side brake pedal for safety, and he monitors the eyes and traffic checks of the patients with an eye check mirror.
Rominger takes patients on different drives depending on their expertise. The course wraps around Pinecrest and Delray Medical Center, but as patients advance, they are taken out onto Linton Boulevard and I-95. Patients can finish the course in as little as three hours or in several sessions. Cost for the evaluation is $300, and adaptive driving training with Rominger is $110 an hour. It's not covered by insurance, but it's a price that patient Todd Mosley was happy to pay as he worked to get back to a normal life after suffering a stroke.
"It's a great investment," Mosley said. "First, I did the evaluation and some training with Mr. Rominger. He helped me work with an outside vendor to get an adaptive driving device installed and worked with me to master that device and get an adaptive driving certification on my driver's license."
Pinecrest Therapy Manager Teressa Dykeman-Diaz said the state sometimes refers patients to the program. Other times, patients enroll after a doctor writes them a prescription. Dykeman-Diaz said participants typically include stroke patients, brain injury patients and patients with other injuries.
"In some cases, people can't get their licenses without this adaptive driving program," Dykeman-Diaz said. "We're also seeing a growing number of baby boomers with aging parents."
For more information on the Pinecrest Rehabilitation Hospital Adaptive Driving Program, call Chad Rominger at 561-495-3634 or Teresa Dykeman-Diaz at 561-495-3024.
Featured in the Sun Sentinel. View the article here.
For more information about Pinecrest Rehabilitation Hospital and Outpatient Center or the Adaptive Driving Program, please call 1-800-686-7632.