March 12, 2013

Last Beam Placed at Topping Out Ceremony March 11

Photo: WBRC Staff stand in front of the final signed beam prior to installation (Left to Right: Ron Roderick, Manual Skills Supervisor; Roz Conanan, Admissions Coordinator; David Patten, Visual Skills Supervisor; A representative of Smith Group Architecture;  Niki Sandlan, Service Chief for Blind Rehabilitation Services; Bobbie Hillen, National Program Consultant; Richard Wing, Nurse Manager; and Richard Ludt, Orientation and Mobility Supervisor). 

The final iron beam of the new Palo Alto Rehabilitation Center was placed during a 'Topping Out' Ceremony on March 11th, 2013.  The ceremony, traditionally held for building construction when the last beam is placed on a building, included an opportunity for persons involved in the project to sign the beam prior to it being placed.  Signatures included Iron Workers, Construction Workers, Architects, Designers, VA Palo Alto Administration, as well as a Blind Rehabilitation and Polytrauma Administration.

Photo: Lisa Freeman, VAPAHCS Director, adds her signature to the final beam.
The Palo Alto Rehabilitation Center will be a multidisciplinary building on the Palo Alto Division campus of the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Veterans Health Administration’s largest health care system in Northern California.  When complete in the spring of 2015, the three-story Palo Alto Rehabilitation Center will include the Polytrauma and Blind Rehabilitation programs.

Photo: Roz Conanan, WBRC Admissions Coordinator, adds her signature to the final beam.
The Palo Alto Polytrauma center is one of five Polytrauma Centers in the country. When completed, the combined Rehabilitation Center will be the largest multi-discipline rehabilitation center in the Department of Veterans Affairs. The center is part of a complex, multi-phased project that includes the 174,000 square foot rehabilitation center and a new 600 car parking structure.

Photo: Members of the construction crew pose before and on top of the final beam.
The first floor of the center will replace, consolidate and expand the inpatient Polytrauma unit and essential services for the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation program, which is part of the expansion of specialized services for Veterans with multiple injuries. There are 24 inpatient beds, which include motorized patient lifts, Veteran-controlled temperature, as well as family space for an integrated care setting. Additional inpatient and outpatient services include physical and occupational therapy, speech therapy, gait training, polytrauma blind rehabilitation services, driver’s training, telemedicine and cognitive therapies.

Photo: The crowd watches as the final beam is lifted off the ground.

Photo: An Iron Worker guides the final beam into place.
The second floor will replace and expand the VA’s existing Western Blind Rehabilitation Center and offer advanced therapies and services for low vision and blind Veterans. These services include orientation and mobility, living skills, manual skills, visual skills, comprehensive neurological vision rehabilitation, optometry, psychology, social work, nursing, physical conditioning, recreation and the computer access training section (CATS), high-tech computer technology. The blind center will include 32 beds for Veterans, as well as transitional apartments for those who are ready to take on everyday life outside of the center.

Photo: Two workers shake hands on top of the final placed beam.
The third floor will replace and expand the Polytrauma Transitional Rehabilitation Program (PTRP), and house the Polytrauma administration and research programs. There are 12 transitional Veteran beds, including two apartments, an exercise space and a large classroom.

CLICK HERE for a Link to the Construction Website

CLICK HERE for additional 'Topping Out' Ceremony Pictures

March 5, 2013

Rehabilitation Center "Topping Out" Ceremony set for March 11th

Image: "Topping Out" Invitation [LINK]
The new 174,000-sq-ft Rehabilitation Center is on its way to completion, and we will be celebrating the "topping out" of this much-needed building, which will consolidate outpatient and inpatient programs at the Palo Alto Division, including Polytrauma, Blind Rehabilitation, Physical Medicine Rehab (PM&R), Physical and Occupational Therapy.

In building construction, “topping out” is a ceremony held when the last beam is placed at the top of a building or when the actual structure is complete. Join us for the topping out ceremony on March 11 at 1pm, right behind the new Mental Health Center.  Find more information on the Construction website.  

If you have any questions about the ceremony, please send an e-mail to: 

March 1, 2013

March VIST Group Meeting Announced for Palo Alto

Image: VIST Logo

Veterans, Family Members, and Caregivers:

The Visual Impairment Services Team (VIST) is pleased to announce the date for the March support group meeting for low vision, blind, and visually impaired veterans.  The group will be held at the Palo Alto VAPAHCS Hospital, Bldg. 7 Trailer C from 10:00-11:00am.

The next Palo Alto VIST group meeting will be held on: 

Thursday March 21st

The group is both informational and supportive in nature and all are welcome to attend. Each month will be a different presentation to support the community of veterans with sight-loss. Family members and Caregivers are also encouraged to come.
Question Contacts are:

Patrick Finan, MSW
Coordinator, Visual Impairment Services Team (VIST)
VA Palo Alto HCS
(650) 852-3467

Elizabeth Jessen,
Poly Trauma VIST Coordinator/Health Science Specialist
VA Palo Alto HCS
(650) 493-5000 ext. 63431

The remaining 2013 VIST Support Group Meeting dates are as follows (3rd Thursday of every month):

March 21
April 18
May 16
June 20
July 18
August 15
September 19
October 17
November 21
December 19