May 28, 2014

May Construction Update

Photo: Siding installed along one side of B-500.
Construction crews of the new Polytrauma and Blind Rehabilitation Center (B-500) continue the installation of the windows and the siding panels on the exterior of the building. The new center will overlap the original WBRC footprint on the Palo Alto VAPAHCS campus. This will be the VA's first and only Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center to be combined with a Blind Rehabilitation Center.
Photo: Workers install the windows in B-500.
At 174,000 square feet, this new facility is the largest consolidated rehabilitation center in the VA and will include 24 beds for the polytrauma program, 32 beds for the blind rehabilitation program, and 12 beds for the polytrauma transitional rehabilitation program. The center will also have an outpatient physical therapy/occupational therapy clinic, an outpatient physical medicine and rehabilitation clinic, and clinical programs for Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom Veterans.
Photo: The structural support is installed for the glass panels which will enclose the atrium
Construction is anticipated to complete in late 2014 with the building becoming operational in Spring of 2015.

CLICK HERE to view additional construction pictures

CLICK HERE for construction updates

CLICK HERE to read the project's news release

May 12, 2014

Healthy Vision Month: Eyes on Health

Photo: A pair of eye glasses resting on an eye chart

By: Shanida Ingalla, O.D., WBRC Optometrist

May is Healthy Vision Month.  People who have already experienced vision loss due to eye disease often ask me “Do I still need to get an annual eye exam?”  In a word, Yes!

A nationwide survey commissioned by Lighthouse International showed that only a small minority of those most at risk get the yearly eye exams that could detect a vision problem and prevent, delay or even reverse its progression. Fully 86 percent of those who already have an eye disease do not get routine exams, the telephone survey of 1,004 adults revealed.

Even after being diagnosed, it is still important to monitor your eye health for changes.  It is also equally vital to continue to be screened for other potential eye diseases.  An annual eye exam is your opportunity to learn from your eye doctor if there have been any recent advances in treatments or rehabilitation that may benefit you.

It is often said that the eyes are the window to the soul.  Certainly the eyes are a window to the body, and a proper eye exam can often alert your doctor to a serious underlying disease like diabetes, hypertension, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and multiple sclerosis.

So if it has been a while since your last eye exam, please call your eye doctor and schedule one today!

CLICK HERE to learn more about the WBRC

CLICK HERE to learn more about VIST Services

CLICK HERE to learn more about Healthy Vision Month


May 8, 2014

WBRC Staff Member Celebrates 25 Years with the VA

Margaret Goossens (2nd from right) recieves her 25 year service award.
WBRC would like to offer a warm congratulations to Mrs. Margaret Goossens, WBRC Manual Skills Instructor, for her 25 years of service with the VA Health Care System.  Mrs. Goossens has worked at the WBRC for over 9 3/4 of those 25 years.  She is pictured above at the awards ceremony in March of 2014 holding her 25 year award (pictured from left to right: WBRC staff members Ron Roderick, Elizabeth Alcorn, Annalise Shaffer, Sarah Hudson, Margaret Goossens, and VAPAHCS Director Lisa Freeman).

May 6, 2014

National Nurses Week

Photo: WBRC LVN Misty Blue Foster educates a student about medication management
National Nurses Week is May 6th - 12th.  Every day, nurses step forward embracing new technologies, resolving emerging issues, and accepting ever-changing roles in their profession.  WBRC Nurses provide monitoring of medical issues, education about disease management such as diabetes, nutrition monitoring and education, support for smoking cessation and weight control, education for medication management, use of the talking glucometer, blood pressure machine, and script talk as well as personal assistance and encouragement with activities of daily living. Rehabilitation nursing is well versed in managing a wide variety of rehabilitation-related disabilities such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and amputation, as well as vision related deficits.  The WBRC nursing team provides a safe and comfortable environment to ensure the continuity of the rehabilitation program.  WBRC would like to express our deep gratitude to our Nursing staff, today and every day, for their excellent care of WBRC patients.

CLICK HERE to learn more about services through the Western Blind Rehabilitation Center

May 1, 2014

May is Healthy Vision Month

Photo: A closeup of a human eye
May is Healthy Vision Month.   Even after vision loss there are things that people can do to take care of their remaining vision.  Here are some tips from the National Eye Institute:
Get a dilated eye exam. Getting a dilated eye exam is the only way to catch eye diseases early, because with many, there are no warning signs.  Even after being diagnosed with vision loss, it is still important to monitor your eye health for changes. It is also equally vital to continue to be screened for other potential eye diseases. An annual eye exam is your opportunity to learn from your eye doctor if there have been any recent advances in treatments or rehabilitation that may benefit you.  Talk to your eye care professional about how often you should have an exam.
Live a healthy lifestyle. Eating healthy foods, maintaining a healthy weight, managing chronic conditions, and not smoking can lower your risk of eye disease and maintain your current level of vision.  If you have diabetes, closely monitor your blood sugar.  Take all of your medications as recommended, including medications for you ocular health.  Talk to your doctor, especially if you notice any changes in your vision.
Know your family history. Talk to your family members about eye health history. It’s important for you and them to know if anyone has been diagnosed with an eye disease, since many are hereditary. This will help to determine if you or they are at higher risk for developing an eye disease.
Use protective eyewear. Protect your eyes when doing chores around the house, playing sports, or on the job to prevent eye injuries from happening. This includes wearing safety glasses, goggles, safety shields, and eye guards that are made of polycarbonate.
Wear sunglasses. Make sure your sunglasses block out 99 to 100% of both UVA and UVB radiation, so you can keep maintain your vision and eye health.  Be sure to properly care for the lenses as this UV protection is often a coating on the lenses.  Always place sunglasses in a case if you are not wearing them.  If the UV coating is scratched you may be letting UVA and UVB radiation leak through the lenses and damage your vision.  A hat with a brim of at least 3 inches can offer further glare reduction as well.  And remember, if you have been issued a pair of sunglasses from the VA you can contact your VIST Coordinator for repairs and/or replacement as needed.