August 29, 2014

WBRC Welcomes New Visual Skills Instructor

WBRC is proud to announce that Charity Son has accepted the position of WBRC Visual Skills Instructor.  Ms. Son started in August of 2014.  Ms. Son graduated from the Northern Illinois University Special Education Master's program in 2013.  She interned at the VA Central Blind Rehabilitation Center from 2012 to 2013 and is accredited by ACVREP as a Vision Rehabilitation Therapist.  She previously worked at the Alaska Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired providing low vision, daily living skills, and orientation and mobility instruction as a Rural Outreach Coordinator.  Welcome to the WBRC Team Charity!

August 19, 2014

WBRC Visited by Hadley School for the Blind

Image: Hadley School for the Blind Logo

WBRC was visited by Chuck Young, President of the Hadley School for the Blind, and Colleen Wunderlich, Director of the Hadley School’s Forsythe Center for Employment and Entrepreneurship on Friday, August 15th.  Mr. Young and Mrs. Wunderlich participated in a tour of the WBRC center and reported that they were very impressed with our program.  They also provided an in-service to WBRC students and staff about the Hadley School for the Blind and it’s programs.

The mission of The Hadley School for the Blind is to promote independent living through lifelong, distance education programs for individuals who are blind or visually impaired, their families and blindness service providers.  Founded in 1920 by William Hadley and Dr. E.V.L. Brown, Hadley offers courses free of charge to its blind and visually impaired students and their families. Today, Hadley is the largest provider of distance education for people who are blind or visually impaired around the world, serving more than 10,000 students annually in all 50 states and 100 countries.

CLICK HERE to visit the Hadley School for the Blind Website

Two programs of interest that Mr. Young and Mrs. Wunderlich presented to the WBRC students and staff included the Blinded Veteran’s Initiative Program and the Forsythe Center for Entrepreneurship Business Program.

The Blinded Veteran’s Initiative Program was launched on Veterans Day 2011.  The goal of this new initiative is to educate and inspire blind or visually impaired Veterans to pursue their personal and professional goals and help support their families.  Visually impaired Veterans and their family members can enroll in the school’s distance education courses at no cost.  The curriculum has been updated with new Veteran-specific resources such as a ‘Veteran’s Benefits’ module.  The initiative complements Hadley’s Forsythe Center for Employment and Entrepreneurship (FCE) which is designed to address the 70 to 80 percent unemployment rate among individuals who are blind or visually impaired.  The FCE provides individuals with sight loss the knowledge, resources, and networking opportunities to advance in their careers or start their own business.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the Blinded Veteran’s Initiative Program

Mr. Young also reported that the Hadley School has begun a Low Vision Focus program which includes free audio programs for Veterans with low vision.  These recordings include modules such as ‘Basic Kitchen Skills’, ‘Managing Medications’, ‘Eating Without Embarrassment’, and ‘Adaptive Devices & Techniques’.   Once registered, the audio recordings are mailed to participants via CD at no charge.

August 11, 2014

Blind Rehab Services Soar During 2014 CARF Accreditation Survey

Image: 'ASPIRE to Excellence' CARF Accredited Seal

The VAPAHCS Blind Rehabilitation Service is proud to announce that we participated in a two and a half day survey by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) August 6th through August 8th,  2014. 
What is CARF?
The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) provides accreditation services worldwide at the request of health and human service providers.  Through accreditation, CARF assists service providers in improving the quality of their services, demonstrating value, and meeting internationally recognized organizational and program standards.
The accreditation process applies sets of standards to service areas and business practices during an on-site survey. Accreditation is an ongoing process, signaling to the public that a service provider is committed to continuously improving services, encouraging feedback, and serving the community. Accreditation also demonstrates a provider's commitment to enhance its performance and distinguish its service delivery.
The CARF representatives completed a thorough survey of our Blind Rehabilitation Services including a facility inspection, interviews with students and staff, examination of our scope of services, standards, memorandum, and policies, review of inpatient and outpatient programming, outcome measures, quality of services provided, etc.
The exit briefing for the Western Blind Rehabilitation Center CARF Survey was held Friday afternoon.  The CARF Team  Leader and Administrative Surveyor Leslie Levin and the Program Surveyor Eileen Slutsky began the session congratulating the staff…
There were NO recommendations!  The WBRC is 100 % compliant with all standards.
The exit briefing consisted of outlining the many strengths they found in the program.  Of note, the surveyors commented on:
  • The high degree of satisfaction of the Veterans interviewed with the program.  Veterans and their families described their experience as “magical, transformational, eye-opening”.  The exemplary staff.  They noted the diversity of experience and the dedication of the staff to the mission and Veteran-Family centered care.  The commented on the dignity and the respect shown to the Veterans.  They noted an exemplary culture of teamwork and how much the staff clearly are dedicated to their work and the mission of the WBRC.
  • Access to donated funds to provide travel for caregivers attending the Family Training Program.
  • Concentrated efforts to provide outreach (WBRC Blog, Newsletter, Human Guide Training to VAPAHCS Services).
  • Rehabilitation Nursing Services: Ability to provide admissions to patients with high acuity of care.
  • The cutting edge innovations they encountered in every program including assistive technologies, the CNVR Program, the iProgram and the leadership in research.
  • The continuous improvement culture.
  • Evidenced based best practices.
  • The clean and inviting environment of care.
  •  Recreation Therapy community reintegration.
  •  Increased access to care.
  • The quality of the leadership.
Congratulations to the  entire team for an exemplary survey!