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West Palm Beach VA Medical Center

Blind Rehabilitation

Loss of sight affects each person differently and is capable of hindering overall functioning, including employment, recreation, social and family life, and communications. The VA's many years of experience have shown that a program of comprehensive rehabilitation is usually the best course to follow. Here an experienced professional staff guides the individual through a process that eventually leads to maximum adjustment to the disability, reorganization of the person's life, and return to a contributing place in the family and community. The Veteran is also assisted in developing a healthy attitude toward themselves, blindness, and the future.

Services Offered

  • Orientation and Mobility
  • Living Skills
  • Manual Skills
  • Visual Skills
  • Computer Access Training (CATS)
  • Recreation Therapy
  • Adjustment to Blindness
  • Group Meetings

Continuum of Care

The goals of the Blind Rehabilitation and Low Vision outpatient programs are to provide the legally blind and low vision Veterans with the skills and techniques necessary to improve his/her quality of life to provide rehabilitation, training and counseling, to assist the low vision Veteran in a continuum of care model to develop skills that aid in increasing his/her overall independence and life satisfaction. Specialized training is divided into skill areas, in order to prepare the Veteran for independence in their home environment.

The West Palm Beach Blind Rehabilitation Center (BRC) is fully committed to:

  • Provide individualized, quality care that exceeds Veteran expectations and allows stakeholder input.
  • Grant easy access to a healthy, safe environment of rehabilitative care.
  • Develop and implement a detailed, individualized treatment plan in collaboration with the Veteran, Visual Impairment Services Team (VIST) Coordinator and Blind Rehabilitation Outpatient Specialist (BROS).
  • Offer educational activities for professional growth.
  • Collect and compile outcome data to guide decision-making and strategic planning.
  • Demonstrate appropriate professional conduct by adhering to a written code of ethics.
  • Support consumer advocacy and respect the rights of the person being served.

The patients are identified by the Visual Impairment Service Team Coordinator (VIST).  VISTs coordinate the administrative and professional services provided to blinded/visually-impaired Veterans at the Medical Centers. They also serve as case managers for blinded Veterans and liaison with blind rehabilitation centers, clinics and other facilities that provided services to blinded Veterans.  VIST coordinators ensure that all eligible blinded Veterans are informed of VIST services including general medical, surgical, ophthalmologic, mental health, and other needed health care services.

Patients are referred by the VIST to the following programs based on their visual needs:

Low Vision Clinic (8B)
The Low Vision Clinic includes a specially trained Optometrist and a Visual Impairment Services Coordinator; all working together to provide comprehensive low vision care. Veterans will receive evaluation, training, equipment and psychological counseling to help them adapt to their visual problems and become more independent.
The clinic can help a range of patients including individuals with "low vision" (visual acuities from 20/50 to 20/200), loss of portions of their visual field, and visual deficits associated with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Each Veteran will receive the most appropriate device(s) for their needs.
Hours of Operation:
Outpatient services provided, as needed, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.
Anyone interested in the services offered by the Low Vision Clinic can get more information or referral information by e contacting:  John Getz, Low Vision Coordinator at 561-422-8645 or John.Getz@va.gov

Blind Rehabilitation Outpatient Specialist (BROS):  BROS provides a continuum of care by conducting local, comprehensive assessments and/or training of Veterans waiting for admission to the BRC. BROS provide pre-BRC and post-BRC training in the Veteran's home environment and/or local VA facility. BROS also provide some training and education to Veterans unable to attend the BRC and focus on reducing patient risk in their treatment of these Veterans.

Blind Rehabilitation Centers (BRC):  There are 13 centers that provide rehabilitation to legally blind and visually impaired Veterans.  Comprehensive individualized blind rehabilitation services are provided in an inpatient medical center environment by a multidisciplinary team of providers. The stay is based on the individual's needs, goals, and expectations of the Blind Rehabilitation Program. The average length of stay is six weeks. The West Palm Beach BRC contains a total of 15 beds for inpatient rehabilitation training. The BRC serves approximately 145 Veterans yearly.

The Blind Rehab Service Director is available to assist with planning. Please contact, Gale Watson 202-461-7355 or email at Gale.Watson@va.gov for further information.

Visual Impairment Services Team (VIST)

VIST Coordinator
The VIST Coordinator is a case manager who has major responsibility for the coordination of all services for legally blind Veterans and their families. By coordinating VA resources with community services, Veterans and their families can be helped to adjust with blindness or vision loss.

Services include:

  • Yearly VIST examination which includes a physical exam including labs, eye exam, hearing exam and dental exam.
  • Review of Veterans benefits.
  • Review of need for adaptive equipment.
  • Support and adjustment counseling for veterans and family members.
  • Referral to VA Blind Rehabilitation facilities.
  • Referral to state and local agencies serving the visually impaired.

Who is Eligible?

If a Veteran is eligible for VA health care and legally blind, they qualify for VIST. An eye exam will be provided.

Who can Refer?

Any interested person, including family members, eye care providers, health care professionals or agency representative may refer patients to VIST. The Veteran may also seek help for him/her self.

If you know a Veteran who has difficulty reading, seeing faces, traveling independently or performing other activities, please contact: Jackie Yoshimura, VIST Coordinator at 561-422-5260 or Jacqueline.Yoshimura@va.gov.

Contact Info

Location

  • West Palm Beach VAMC
    Blind Rehabilitation
    Room 7B

Contact Number(s)

  • 561-422-8426

Hours of Operation

  • 7:30 am - 4:00 pm
    Monday - Friday