Teaching Case Studies: Managing Aberrant Behavior In Patients With Dementia
Title: Driving and Patients with Dementia

Published in the journal, Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine 
In Joint Providership with Sage Publishing

Goals and Objectives

This activity is intended for health care providers, family, and/or caregivers who provide care for patients with dementia.

Driving is often a sensitive issue that may pose significant risks to the patient and community. Agnosia, apraxia, and easy distractibility make it unsafe for the patient with Alzheimer’s disease to drive. Patients however are usually oblivious of their impaired skills and even of the several accidents they may have caused while driving. They often refuse to accept their limitations and insist on continuing to drive.

Arguing with patients who have dementia should be avoided because these patients have an impaired memory and short attention span. They are therefore unable to retain the information just presented to them and utilize their fund of knowledge to make up a valid counterargument.

In this case scenario we describe the situation that arose when a patient with multi-infarct dementia wanted to go for a drive and his son and grandson tried to convince him that he could no longer drive. What went wrong in the caregivers/patient interaction is presented. The futility of arguing with patients who have dementia is highlighted as well as the paranoia it may generate. Alternate actions that can be useful to avoid/avert the situation from escalating and having a catastrophic ending are discussed. Testing/evaluating patients with dementia for fitness to drive is also reviewed and a list of select resources is included. Upon completion of this activity, providers should be able to:

  • Apply the material addressed in the scenario when advising caregivers seeking help with similar situations.
  • Provide advice to caregivers about how to avoid aberrant behaviors from developing, escalating, and erupting, along with steps that can be taken to prevent it from occurring.

Important Note:

Before beginning this CME activity, you  must review the article in its entirety, located here:
Driving and Patients with Dementia


R.C. Hamdy, MD1, Amber Kinser, PhD1, Tracey Kendall-Wilson, RN1, 2, Audrey Depelteau, PhD1, Kathleen Whalen, BA1

1East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN, USA
2Alzheimer’s Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA

Course Information

CME Release Date: June 5th, 2018
Content Reviewed: April 3, 2019
Valid for credit through: June 05, 2020
Course type:  Journal CME

Credits Available

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of Southern Medical Association and SAGE Publishing. Southern Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Southern Medical Association designates this Journal CME Activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

For information on applicability and acceptance of continuing education credit for this activity, please consult your professional licensing board.  All healthcare professionals who are not MDs or DOs will receive a certificate of participation. 

Instructions for Participation and Credit

This activity is designed to be completed within the time designated; learners should claim only those credits that reflect the time actually spent in the activity. To successfully earn credit, participants must complete the activity online during the valid credit period noted, following these steps:

  • Read the goals and objectives, accreditation information, and author disclosures.
  • Study the educational content and references.
  • Online, choose the best answer to each test question. To receive a certificate, you must receive a passing score of 80%.
  • Complete the activity evaluation and attestation.

Upon successful completion of the test, evaluation and attestation, your certificate will be processed and emailed from [email protected] within approximately 1 hour. Credits will be archived for 6 years; at any point within this time period you may login to your account to print a duplicate copy of your certificate.

Course Materials


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