Our team of Occupational Therapists planned a Development Day to further develop their skills in using certain standardised assessments and also to explore external services, such as the Disability Living Centre (DLC) and SMART Centre, both these national services are based at the Astley Ainslie Hosptial in Edinburgh.
Disability Living Centre (DLC)
The DLC is a great resource for anyone wishing to seek advice, or trial various pieces of equipment ranging from small handheld items for daily living to more specialist items such as profiling beds, wheelchairs or Closomat hygienic toilets. The DLC is accessible to any healthcare professionals, or members of the public, living anywhere in Scotland, by appointment only. There is a bathroom and kitchen available for carrying out an assessment. Equipment available to trial includes manual, self-propelled and powered wheelchairs, stairlifts, mobile hoists, walking aids, seating, beds and various small aids for daily living. Advice is given on how to use the various products, as well as how to source them. The DLC does not supply any products but allows people to trial products before making any purchasing decisions. Regular seminars are held, for anyone to attend, with suppliers demonstrating their products or organisations such as Housing Departments giving information on their services.
Driving Assessment Centre
The SMART Centre manages applications for Blue Badges and all Scottish Driving Assessments.
Blue Badge Scheme - those applicants who are called for assessment would attend at the SMART Centre. Eligibility criteria includes pain, breathlessness and mobility. Blue badges are awarded for 1, 2 or 3 years at a time. A temporary badge for up to 12 months may be awarded, e.g. for someone undergoing cancer treatment. A separate application may be made for a “Risk in Traffic” situation where the applicant needs a sponsor (such as an OT), to give evidence that the person is a risk to either themselves or others. Such circumstances include conditions such as dementia, autism and brain injury.
Driving Assessments - Referrals are accepted from GPs, Consultants, DVLA and the police and any types of physical or cognitive conditions are assessed. A DVLA document “Assessing Fitness to Drive, a guide for Medical Professionals” gives guidance regarding the protocols for different medical conditions and when the DVLA needs to be notified of changing medical conditions.
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The waiting list for driving assessments is currently around 18 weeks. The assessment explores cognitive and physical ability and general safety under various different situations.