Driving hands

Project details

Full project title: Driving Hands: An investigation of factors influencing the resumption of driving following immobilisation in a below-elbow cast.

Sponsor: British Association of Hand Therapists

Project leader for CTS: Dr Charles Musselwhite

Other researchers: Melissa Calcraft (lead researcher - Physiotherapy Department, Southmead Hospital, North Bristol Trust), Annette Swinkels (Faculty of Health and Life Sciences), Pat Turton (Faculty of Health and Life Sciences), Rebecca Fox (Deparetment of Orthopaedic Surgery, Frenchay Hospital, North Bristol Trust).

Start date: March 2010

Finish date: August 2011

Project briefing sheet: Download the briefing sheet document

Project summary

This mixed methodological study has been designed to investigate the factors which influence the resumption of driving following immobilisation in a below-elbow cast. Research tells us that some patients drive in their cast despite the fact that their driving ability could be severely affected and doing so places them at risk of prosecution.

It appears current advice from healthcare personnel about driving can be unclear, ambiguous and contradictory. The study aims to explain factors which influence driving with a cast conceptually and contextually in order to inform professional advice on the resumption of driving. The iterative research design planned for this research involves a questionnaire with patients to gather information on: demographics; fracture management; past medical history; background driving information; travel behaviour; cast driving behaviour and driving risk behaviour; and a follow-up stage of telephone interviews with an emergent sample to gather detailed information on driving attitudes.

Participants will be recruited as a prospective cohort from clinics at a regional orthopaedic centre. The objectives are to: (1) understand the actuality of the driving experience for participants with below elbow casts; and (2) explore motivational factors for driving in plaster and participants’ conceptualisation of associated risk taking. The data gathered in this study, grounded in the patients’ reality, will then be used to inform a driving leaflet on the resumption of driving which may help to reduce risk taking driving behaviour.

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