Older Driver Safety

LongROAD: Longitudinal Research on Aging Drivers

Funded by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the LongROAD Study is a multi-site, longitudinal cohort study designed to help us understanding the dynamics, mechanisms, determinants, and consequences of driving in older  drivers. Issues of particular interest to this project are those related to, among other things, medications, medical conditions, physical impairments, visual and cognitive functions, driving patterns, and driving exposure. Also of key interest will be the circumstances surrounding driving cessation (e.g., self-regulation, family intervention, crash involvement, etc.), and mobility decisions and options for older Americans who no longer drive. Dr. Carolyn DiGuiseppi, MD, PhD, and Dr. Betz are Co-Site-PIs.

AUTO: Advancing Understanding of Transportation Options

Deciding when to “hang up the car keys” is one of the most emotional and difficult decisions older adults face, especially in the context of age-associated cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimer’s disease, yet it is also one that almost every individual, and their families, must wrestle with. A web-based decision aid could help older adults make decisions about driving that are informed and in-line with personal values. Understanding which types of older adults benefit most from the decision aid, along with when the decision aid should be used, will help optimize real-world use. Such a decision aid may be particularly important for individuals with cognitive impairment, such as that associated with Alzheimer’s disease and particularly in its earliest stages, which complicates driving decisions and has been linked to both driving risk and the need for eventual driving cessation. This study is funded by the National Institute on Aging and aims to enroll older drivers in three states.


Firearm Suicide Prevention

ED-AID: Assisting in Informing Decisions in Emergency Departments

ED-AID is a study funded by the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Mental Health, R34MH11353) that aims to develop and test a web-based decision aid to help adults with suicide risk choose firearm storage options. The study is curently enrolling patients at three hospitals - the University of Colorado Hospital, Memorial Hospital, and Denver Health.

The "Lock to Live" decision aid should be available for public use in 2019.

The SAFETY Study

The SAFETY Study is a collaboration between Northeastern University, the Colorado School of Public Health, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The project aims to understand parent responses to safety counseling in the emergency department (ED). Ultimately, our goal is to help prevent youth suicide by strengthening counseling for parents of adolescents who visit the ED for a mental health emergency. Enrollment is ongoing at multiple hospitals in Colorado. Dr. Betz is a Co-Investigator.


Firearm Access In Dementia

Our group is developing educational and decision-support tools for family members concerned about firearm access in the context of dementia. If you are interested, please contact us at marian.betz@ucdenver.edu.

Advance Firearm Directive - a worksheet for individuals to use with families and friends to make plans for future firearm transfers, should safety become a concern.
(Adapted from www.thehartford.com/sites/thehartford/files/at-the-crossroads-2012.pdf)

Emergency Department Care of Patient With Suicide Risk

Dr. Betz previously served on the Colorado Suicide Preventon Commission as a Commissioner representing hospitals with emergency departments.

Prior research has examined emergency department care of patients with suicide risk, including through the ED-SAFE trials. Particular areas of focus have included: provider knowledge, attitudes and behaviors; lethal means counseling; and differential treatment by age, alcohol intoxication, and other factors.