The Driver Readiness Program at NBRRH helped Katherine Jones keep a promise to her family not to drive again until it was safe.

Katherine Jones, 62, was constantly on-the-go prior to having a brain bleed. She enjoyed spending time with her six grandchildren, crafting, volunteering, attending church, camping, and painting. Katherine had been dealing with a headache and blood pressure issues and noticed she began not feeling like her normal, energetic self. She saw a physician and had a CT scan done, which revealed she suffered from a subdural hematoma. Katherine was rushed to the hospital where she underwent emergency brain surgery to relieve the pressure on her brain.

Once she was stable enough to be discharged home, Katherine began outpatient therapy at New Braunfels Regional Rehabilitation Hospital. The brain bleed left her with paralysis on her left side, motor skill deficits, and cognition issues that severely limited her independence. Although she struggled with what her “new normal” would look like, she was determined to work hard in physical, occupational, and speech therapies. Katherine was empowered by the idea that she had a second chance at life and motivated to regain her strength and independence.

Katherine’s therapist asked her what her main goal was in our outpatient program. Without hesitation, she said, “I want to be able to drive again.” She was determined to be able to drive to see her grandchildren on her own and continue the volunteer work that she loved doing in her spare time.

After several months of significant improvement with outpatient therapy, the therapists felt Katherine was prepared to try the Driver Readiness Program. The program starts with a clinical assessment performed by an occupational therapist who evaluates and treats the skills needed for safe driving. This involves multiple therapy sessions involving an examination of the physical, visual, perceptual, and cognitive abilities needed for driving.

Once Katherine mastered this portion of the program, a driving rehabilitation specialist evaluated her abilities behind the wheel. This component includes hands-on training and real-world situations that a driver could encounter on the open road.

Katherine was thrilled when she passed her driving exam with the driving rehabilitation specialist—so was her family. Her husband said, “I know what the team at New Braunfels Regional Rehabilitation Hospital did for her, but what you don’t know is what the team did for me.” Katherine’s newfound independence gave her and her family peace of mind. Her daughter even felt secure with her picking up the grandkids just like old times. When speaking of the therapy team she said, “I owe them much gratitude for everything they did for me and my family to get me to the point where I’m out driving safely!”