June 30, 2016

Happy 4th of July

Photo: An American Flag with fireworks behind

As we celebrate our liberties, freedoms, and the many things we have to be thankful for this July, 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 for your service. Have a happy and safe 4th of July Holiday.

The WBRC will be closed for business on Monday July 4th in observance of the Holiday.

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.

CLICK HERE to learn more about WBRC

June 17, 2016

WBRC Outreach: San Francisco VA VIST Team Meeting

Image: Matter of Balance Logo

On June 13th WBRC was honored to be invited to present to the Visual Impairment Services Team monthly meeting at the San Francisco VA Hospital Campus.  Mrs. Summer Beasley, MA COMS, WBRC Blind Rehabilitation Specialist presented to the group, consisting of the VIST Coordinator, Blind Rehabilitation staff members, a Veteran representative, as well several service Chiefs including Optometry, Audiology, Occupational Therapy, Prosthetics, and Rehabilitative Nursing about the WBRC's Matter of Balance Program.

In 2015 the WBRC piloted a new fall prevention program called Matter of  Balance.  Matter of Balance is a nationwide, evidence based fall prevention program for older adults.  It addresses the fear of falling, fall prevention measures, and simple exercises to promote health and balance.
The program was developed through research by the Roybal Center for Enhancement of Late-Life Function at Boston University.  Matter of Balance is designed to reduce the fear of falling and increase the activity levels of older adults who have concerns about falls.
The WBRC is the first VA and first Blind Rehabilitation Center to adopt this program.  It is also the only Matter of Balance program that is offered as inpatient treatment for Veterans with visual impairment.  The program runs for four weeks and is group based with up to six Veterans and up to three Matter of Balance Coaches.
Some information about the program:
  • Matter of Balance group classes take place twice a week.
  • Veterans have the opportunity for one-on-one assessment and training options in additional skill areas such as Orientation & Mobility, Living Skills, and Visual Skills.
  • Matter of Balance daily group exercise sessions starting in week two.
  • Additional group educational sessions on MyHealtheVet and devices such as use of a grabber/reacher (as many falls involve reaching for objects).
  • Matter of Balance group Community Outings provide the opportunity to apply newly learned skills. 
  • Veterans may also participate in regularly scheduled WBRC Recreation Therapy activities, as well as the Student Forum and the Relaxation Group.
  • Access to skilled nursing care 24 hours per day.
Interested Veterans with Vision Loss apply to the program by talking to their Visual Impairment Services Team (VIST) Coordinator about being referred to this specialty program, or can contact the WBRC at (650) 614-9952 to learn about Matter of Balance or future session dates.

If you would like to see if there is a local Matter of Balance session meeting near you, use this link to look up Master Trainers by state: http://www.mainehealth.org/mh_body.cfm?id=5195
If you are aware of an event which would be a good opportunity for WBRC Outreach or would like WBRC to come speak to your group, please contact Lindsay Hass, WBRC Blind Rehabilitation Specialist and WBRC Communications Committee Co-Chair at Lindsay.hass@va.gov or call the main WBRC line at (650) 614-9952 to make a request.


June 6, 2016

NCEFT Features Veteran in New Video

Video: NCEFT features Veteran in new video. 
Click on the image above to play

The National Center for Equine Facilitated Therapy (NCEFT) in Woodside, CA has long been a resource for Veterans, including those attending the Western Blind Rehabilitation Center.  Founded in 1971, the NCEFT has worked with children, adults, and Veterans with a variety of disabilities providing a wide range of equine activities.  WBRC Recreation Therapy department has developed a strong relationship with NCEFT, participating with their Veterans Program on a regular basis.

The NCEFT Veteran's program offers Active Duty Service Members and Veterans the opportunity to participate in services at no cost.  The program encourages physical and cognitive rehabilitation, providing Veterans with a safe environment in which to regain their independence, confidence, and strength.  This program is funded entirely by donations. 

Programs including Hippotherapy, a treatment in which equine movement is used as part of a coordinated intervention program to reach functional goals in the areas of physical, occupational, and speech-language therapy.  Adaptive riding, which emphasizes the acquisition of riding and horsemanship skills, in an effort to achieve physical, emotional, and cognitive goals.  And adaptive horsemanship, where students are organized into small groups lessons with other Veterans.