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Open Access Research article

Development and pilot testing of a decision aid for drivers with dementia

John Carmody123*, Jan Potter34, Kate Lewis23, Sanjay Bhargava4, Victoria Traynor23 and Don Iverson23

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neurology, Wollongong Hospital, Wollongong, NSW 2500, Australia

2 Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia

3 Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI), University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia

4 Department of Aged Care, Wollongong Hospital, Wollongong, NSW 2500, Australia

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BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2014, 14:19  doi:10.1186/1472-6947-14-19

Published: 19 March 2014



An increasing number of older adults drive automobiles. Given that the prevalence of dementia is rising, it is necessary to address the issue of driving retirement. The purpose of this study is to evaluate how a self-administered decision aid contributed to decision making about driving retirement by individuals living with dementia. The primary outcome measure in this study was decisional conflict. Knowledge, decision, satisfaction with decision, booklet use and booklet acceptability were the secondary outcome measures.


A mixed methods approach was adopted. Drivers with dementia were recruited from an Aged Care clinic and a Primary Care center in NSW, Australia. Telephone surveys were conducted before and after participants read the decision aid.


Twelve participants were recruited (mean age 75, SD 6.7). The primary outcome measure, decisional conflict, improved following use of the decision aid. Most participants felt that the decision aid: (i) was balanced; (ii) presented information well; and (iii) helped them decide about driving. In addition, mean knowledge scores improved after booklet use.


This decision aid shows promise as an acceptable, useful and low-cost tool for drivers with dementia. A self-administered decision aid can be used to assist individuals with dementia decide about driving retirement. A randomized controlled trial is underway to evaluate the effectiveness of the tool.

Automobile; Decision aid; Decision making; Dementia; Driving; Patient education