July 29, 2016

July Construction Update

Photo: Art installation in front of B-500
WBRC continues to watch the construction progress of B-500, the highly anticipated new home of the Polytrauma and Blind Rehabilitation services on the Palo Alto VAPAHCS Campus.  Some of the building's features will include private bedrooms and bathrooms for inpatients, 3 large shared courtyards, a 'green' living roof, a greenhouse, and solar panels on the roof.
Photo: Rendering of front of B500.
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.  Currently construction crews are nearing completion of both the interior and exterior of the building.
Photo: Front of B500 in July 2016
The center will also have an outpatient physical therapy and occupational therapy clinic, an outpatient physical medicine and rehabilitation clinic, and clinical programs for Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom Veterans.  Construction is anticipated to be 100% complete shortly, with the building becoming operational within a year.

CLICK HERE to view additional construction pictures

CLICK HERE for construction updates

CLICK HERE to read the project's news release

July 20, 2016

WBRC Students Attend Healthy Teaching Kitchen Demo

Photo: WBRC Veterans interact at the Healthy Teaching Kitchen Demo
WBRC Students Attended a Healthy Teaching Kitchen (HTK)cooking demonstration today at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System Wednesday Farmer's Market.  The Healthy Teaching Kitchen is a program run through VAPAHCS by the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Coordinator and provides live healthy cooking demonstration events.  The Healthy Teaching Kitchen provides demonstrations at the VAPAHCS Wednesday Farmer's Market on the 3rd Wednesday of each month.

During the demonstration the Veterans observed the preparation and cooking of a healthy recipe for 'Mediterranean Beef Burgers', asked questions, and tasted a sample of the completed recipe.  The HTK staff also educated participants about food safety when cooking outdoors.

They reported that the Centers for Disease Control estimates that 1 in 6 Americans get sick from contaminated foods and beverages and about 3,000 die each year. When foods are prepared on the grill or at picnics, it is even more important to practice good food safety.  HTK recommended the following tips for cooking outdoors:

Cook foods at the right temperature.  Many people thing they cane tell when food is 'done' by checking it's color and texture.  But there is no way to tell if it is safe without using a food thermometer.  Cooking temperatures vary, for instance chicken should be cooked to 165 degrees F and ground beef to 160 degrees F.  Visit www.foodsafety.gov for more information.

Wash hands and surfaces often, illness causing bacteria can survive in many places around your cooking area including hands, utensils, cutting boards, and countertops.  Make sure when you are preparing foods you have a working sink or wash station near by.

Refrigerate foods promptly.  Illness-causing bacteria can grow in many foods within two hours unless you refrigerate them.  During the summer heat, cut that time down to one hour.  Always keep cold items cold by covering them with ice and keeping them in the shade.

Separate raw meats from other foods.  Raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs can spread illness-causing bacteria to ready-to-eat foods - unless you keep them separate.  Use different cutting boards for meat and veggies to limit contamination.

Please see below for the Recipe:

Mediterranean Beef Burgers

1lb Ground Beef (90% Lean/10% Fat)
1 Large Green Onion (Scallion)
¾ cup of Baby Spinach
1/3 cup of crumbled Feta Cheese
1 ½ tsp Fresh Dill
½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Black Pepper
2 cloves of garlic

First, chop green onions, spinach, dill and garlic and set to the immediate side. Next, wash your hands thoroughly, in a large bowl combine ground beef, chopped onions, spinach, dill, garlic, feta, salt and pepper.  Once all is in the bowl, using hands combine all of the items into a large well mixed ball. Separate burgers out into 4 equal sized patties.  Wash your hands again thoroughly.
Next heat a grill pan or frying pan on medium high heat, spray with cooking spray or 1 tsp olive oil and set burgers in pan.  Cook on each side for 6 minutes for medium doneness or until it reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.  
Dress your burger on a whole wheat bun with lettuce, tomatoes and other condiments, or enjoy you burger cut up in to strips in a pita or on a bed of lettuce.   

Calories: 313 Cal
Carbs: 2g
Fat: 14g
Protein: 32g
Sodium: 415mg
Sugar: 0g

July 6, 2016

WBRC Outreach: Palo Alto VIST Meeting

Photo: Stock photograph of a Matter of Balance group discussion
Last Month WBRC was honored to be invited to present to the Palo Alto Visual Impairment Services Team Coordinator's monthly meeting at the Palo Alto Hospital Campus.  Mrs. Summer Beasley, MA COMS, WBRC Blind Rehabilitation Specialist and Matter of Balance Coach, presented to the group, consisting of the VIST Coordinator and Veterans with vision loss and their families and caregivers.  The WBRC's new Matter of Balance program was reviewed and the group participated in some of the Matter of Balance exercises.

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's program is the first in the VA and the 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 4 weeks and is group based with up to six Veterans and up to three Matter of Balance Coaches.

Some Program Information:
  • Matter of Balance group discussion classes take place twice per week.
  • Veterans have the opportunity for one-on-one assessment and training options in additional skill areas such as Orientation and Mobility, Living Skills, and Visual Skills.
  • Matter of Balance daily group exercise sessions start in week two.
  • Additional group educational sessions occur on My HealtheVet and devices such as use of a reacher, etc.
  • 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 Student Forum and Relaxation Group.
  • Access to Skills 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 WBRC 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.mainhealth.org/mh_body.cfm?id=5159

If you are aware of an event which would be a good opportunity for WBRC outreach or would like WBRC to come and speak to your group, please contact Lindsay Hass, WBRC Blind Rehabilitation Specialist and Communication Committee Co-Chair at Lindsay.hass@va.gov or call the main WBRC line at (650) 614-9952 to make a request.