Dementia and cognitive disorders

Assessment and Reporting of Driving Fitness in Patients with Dementia in Clinical Practice: Data from SveDem, the Swedish Dementia Registry

A recent study published in Journal of Alzheimer's Disease has found that most, but not all, patients in Sweden diagnosed with dementia have their driving fitness assessed. Driving is dependent on cognitive functions such as attention, visuo-spatial skills and memory, which are often compromised in dementia. The driving fitness of every patient with dementia should be assessed. 15113 patients in the Swedish Dementia Registry (SveDem) 2007-2013 with newly diagnosed dementia and a driver’s license were studied. A sizeable minority (16%) did not have their driving fitness assessed. 9% were reported to the authority to have their licenses revoked. Physicians were more likely to take no action in younger males with Alzheimer´s disease and higher scores on MMSE (mini-mental state examination, a screening test of cognitive functions commonly used in clinical settings). This study is one of the first considering how car driving is addressed in clinical practice in a large population of patients with dementia. Knowledge of which factors, such as diagnosis, cognitive scores and co-morbidity, relate to road safety may lead to more specific guidelines about how driving should be addressed in patients with dementia.