December 31, 2014

A Look Back on 2014

Photo: '2015' written in colored sparklers
WBRC would like to wish everyone a very happy and healthy 2015.

There were several big events for WBRC in 2014 including soaring for our 2014 CARF survey, a staff member retiring after over 40 years of service, our 10th Annual White Cane Awareness Walk, and watching the progress of construction of B500 - our new home at Palo Alto. As we prepare for 2015, lets take a look back at 2014 via links to some of our favorite WBRC Blog posts from this year:

Photo: B500 Exterior in February 2014

Photo: B500 Exterior in December 2014
Photo: WBRC's new Guide Dog Puppy in Training 'Rookie'
Image: 'ASPIRE to Excellence' CARF Accredited Seal
Photo: Dr. Goodrich working with the NVT Light Panel

WBRC's 10th Annual White Cane Awareness Walk a Huge Success
Photo: Pete Chavarria (Right) is presented a certificate of appreciation from John Kingston, O&M Department Supervisor, for being the Grand Marshall of the 10th Annual White Cane Awareness Walk.
Photo: The WBRC Group at the ETC Campsite
The WBRC will be closed for business on Thursday January 1st, 2015 in observance of New Year's Day.

The RN Station may be reached by calling:
(650) 493-5000
then select 1, then 2, then enter 24623 -or- 24823

You may also leave a message at the WBRC Direct Line at:
(650) 614-9952

Have a healthy and happy 2015!

CLICK HERE to learn more about the WBRC

December 29, 2014

WBRC Welcomes New Computer Access Training Program Supervisor

WBRC is proud to announce that Glenda Buscarello has accepted the position of WBRC Computer Access Training Program Supervisor.  Mrs. Buscarello started in December of 2014.  Mrs. Buscarello is a graduate of San Francisco State University where she obtained degrees as a Teacher of the Visually Impaired and in Orientation and Mobility (O&M).  She is accredited by ACVREP as a Low Vision Therapist, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, and an O&M Specialist.  She is also a Veteran who retired from the United States Air Force Reserve in 2006 after 21 years of service.  She previously worked for the University of Colorado, Boulder as the Disability Access Coordinator and has also taught college courses covering a variety of computer equipment and software including JAWS, ZoomText, and iPad/iPhone.  Welcome to the WBRC Team Glenda!

December 19, 2014

Season's Greetings

Image: Front of card with a patriotically wrapped gift stating 'Season's Greetings'
As we celebrate our liberties, freedoms, and the many things we have to be thankful for this Holiday Season, we remember and support those who have protected them. The Western Blind Rehabilitation Center (WBRC) would like to thank all veterans and active duty service members this Holiday Season for your service. Have a happy and safe holiday.
The WBRC will be closed for business on Thursday and Friday December 25th & 26th, 2014 and on Thursday January 1st, 2015 in observance of the Holiday Season.
The WBRC RN Station may be reached by calling:
(650) 493-500
then select 1, then 2, then enter 24623 -or- 24823
You may also leave a message at the WBRC Direct Line at:
(650) 614-9952
The Western Blind Rehabilitation Center (WBRC) is a 27-bed residential facility located at the Menlo Park Division of the VA Palo Alto Health Care System.  Approximately two hundred veterans and active duty service members of all ages participate in the program each year.  More than three quarters have usable vision for which specialized treatment is provided.  Adjusting to and managing visual impairment is the major objective of the program.  If you are in the area and are interested in a site visit, please call (650) 614-9952 to make arrangements.

December 17, 2014

December Technology Tip: iOS 8 and Bluetooth Keyboard Use

Photo: An Apple Brand Bluetooth Keyboard

The Western Blind Rehabilitation Center's (WBRC) iProgram has been getting a lot of questions lately from iProgram Alumni and current students regarding the recent Apple Operating Software (iOS) update for iPhones and iPads.  WBRC has hesitated to encourage users who use an iPhone or iPad with VoiceOver to update if they use a Bluetooth Keyboard.  Why?  Because it appeared that the keyboard letter and number keys would not work with an iPhone or iPad with iOS 8 or later while using VoiceOver.... frustrating!

Well - after a bit of research we have discovered the solution to this problem.  The iPhone/iPad with iOS 8 or later user can use an Apple Bluetooth keyboard and VoiceOver at the same time by turning 'Quick Nav' OFF on their keyboard.

What is Quick Nav?  Most interaction with VoiceOver involves the use of keyboard shortcuts, and many of these shortcuts include the Control and Option keys. These keys are known as the VoiceOver (VO) keys.  Quick Nav is a new feature in iOS 8 that allows you to navigate without having to use the VO keys.  The problem is that with Quick Nav on - the letter and number keys don't work.

How do I turn off Quick Nav?  Simply press the left arrow key and the right arrow key on your keyboard at the same time to turn Quick Nav off or on.  The letter and number keys will work on the keyboard with Quick Nav off.  Turn Quick Nav back on to navigate without having to use the VO keys.

Should I update to iOS 8? Choosing to update your iPhone or iPad software is a purely personal choice.  While the differences between iOS 7 and iOS 8 are not drastic - there are differences.  It is always advised that you do your research in order to make an informed decision prior to updating your software.  WBRC iProgram Alum should feel free to contact the WBRC Technology Coordinator at 650-493-5000 x24158 with questions regarding software updates.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the WBRC

CLICK HERE to learn more about the WBRC Computer Access and iProgram

Article by: Summer Beasley-Hoffman

December 12, 2014

December Construction Update

Photo: The front of B500 as seen from B101-100's breezway

Construction crews of the new Polytrauma and Blind Rehabilitation Center (B-500) are nearing completion of 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: The front entry area of B500 as seen from ground level

At 174,000 square feet, this new facility is the largest consolidated rehabilitation center in the VA and will include 24 beds for the polytruama program, 32 beds for the blind rehabilitation program, and 12 beds for the polytruama 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.

Image: Rendering of B500 front entry area when completed

Construction is anticipated to complete in Summer of 2015 with the building becoming operational in Winter of 2015.

CLICK HERE to view additional construction pictures

CLICK HERE for construction updates

CLICK HERE to read the project's news release