Older Adults’ Preferences for Communication with Healthcare Providers About Driving
A synthesis of qualitative studies of older adults’ preferences concerning communication with their healthcare providers about driving, including driving safety and planning for future “driving retirement".
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To synthesize published qualitative studies to identify older adults’ preferences for communication about driving with healthcare providers.
Healthcare providers play a key role in addressing driving safety and driving retirement with older adults, but conversations about driving can be difficult. Guides exist for family members and providers, but to date less is known about the types of communication and messages older drivers want from their healthcare providers.
Qualitative metasynthesis of studies published on or before October 10, 2014, in databases (PubMed, CINAHL, PsycINFO and Web of Science) and grey literature.
22 published studies representing 518 older adult drivers met the following inclusion criteria: (1) the study was about driving; (2) the study involved older drivers; (3) the study was qualitative (rather than quantitative or mixed methods); and (4) the study contained information on older drivers’ perspectives about communication with healthcare providers.
We identified five major themes regarding older adults’ communication preferences: (1) driving discussions are emotionally charged; (2) context matters; (3) providers are trusted and viewed as authority figures; (4) communication should occur over a period of time rather than suddenly; and (5) older adults desire agency in the decision to stop driving.
Various stakeholders involved in older driver safety should consider older drivers’ perspectives regarding discussions about driving. Healthcare providers can respect and empower older drivers—and support their family members—through tactful communication about driving safety and mobility transitions during the life course.