VISOR Opens New Worlds for Blind Veterans - Battle Creek VA Medical Center
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Battle Creek VA Medical Center

 

VISOR Opens New Worlds for Blind Veterans

VISOR Clinic

Kelcie Douglas demonstrates a document magnifier.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Blind Rehabilitation helps Veterans to reach their abilities.  The Battle Creek VA Medical Center provides many specialized and unique medical services to the southwestern Michigan area. However, for Veterans that require visual impairment services, Battle Creek is among the best facilities in the whole region to receive care, therapy, and assistive technology training! We regularly receive referrals from the Northern Michigan as well as VA facilities in surrounding states. To recognize February being Low Vision Awareness Month, we are spotlighting the work and services provided by our clinic here in Battle Creek.

Our Visual Impairment Services Outpatient Rehabilitation (VISOR) clinic operates on a “Vision First” policy which means we will adapt Veteran’s treatment to the vision that they still have and introduce tools that will allow them to continue to live their life more independently & enable further future self-dependence. We work with the Veteran and their family to understand their needs and goals and build a bespoke treatment program in order to work towards achieving them. Ultimately, our job is to improve a Veteran’s quality of life and we will use all the tools we have to help them develop the right skills to regain their independence.

One area that has revolutionized life for people with vision impairment is the rise of modern accessible user interfaces and tools that are available in computers, smartphones, and tablets. "These tools open up a whole new world for Veterans who have low vision," said Kimberly Barnett, one of the Blind Rehabilitation Specialists at the Battle Creek VAMC.  These operating systems and applications allow Veterans with limited vision or total blindness to interact with the world using screen readers, voice control, enlarged interfaces, and online shopping & delivery services.

Some Veterans might feel some apprehension to receiving treatment or therapy for vision impairment due to stigma or to a perceived loss of freedom. We completely understand these feelings and provide everyone that we treat the following guarantees:

  • We will treat you with dignity, compassion, and respect.
  • Your personal freedoms will be respected.
  • You can always communicate freely and privately.
  • All decisions about your care will be yours.
  • You will always be fully informed about your responsibilities as a patient.
  • You can always reach out to patient advocates should you have any concerns.
Who is eligible to receive blind rehabilitation services at the Battle Creek VA? Regardless of how a Veteran’s vision became impaired (during their service or not), all Veterans that have been diagnosed with a visual impairment by a doctor can receive services at our facility. For further information on our clinic and to see what we can do to support Veteran’s visual impairment, please call us at 269-966-5600, Ext. 35195 or visit our website (https://www.battlecreek.va.gov/services/VISOR_Blind_Rehab.asp).

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