Background: Critical care sequelae are common in survivors of critical illness. Physical, psychological and cognitive impairments can affect quality of life for years after the original insult. Driving is an advanced task reliant on complex physical and cognitive functioning. Driving represents a positive recovery milestone. Little is currently known about the driving habits of critical care survivors. The aim of this study was to explore the driving practices of individuals after critical illness.
Methods: A purpose-designed questionnaire was distributed to critical care recovery clinic attendees at the 1-year post hospital discharge time point.
Results: A response rate of 90% was achieved. All respondents declared their intention to return driving. 68% had resumed driving by 3 months, 77% by 6 months and less than 80% by 1 year. The median interval (range) between critical care discharge and resumption of driving was 8 weeks (1 to 52 weeks). Psychological, physical and cognitive barriers were cited by respondents as barriers to driving resumption. Eight themes around driving resumption were identified through thematic framework content analysis; These were Confidence; Emotional strength/nervousness and anxiety; Concentration; Weakness and fatigue; Physical ability; Intrinsic motivation; Information; Timescales.
Conclusion: This study demonstrates that resumption of driving following critical illness is substantially delayed. Qualitative analysis identified potentially modifiable barriers to driving resumption. Keywords: Driving, Critical illness, Critical Care, Recovery, Intensive care