Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center
Visual Impairment Service Team
Visual Impairment Services Team (VIST) Coordinator
The Visual Impairment Services Team (VIST) Coordinators are case managers who have responsibility for the coordination of services for severely disabled visually impaired Veterans and active duty Service members. VIST coordinator duties include providing and/or arranging the provision of appropriate treatment in order to enhance functioning such as making referrals to Blind Rehabilitation Centers, Blind Rehabilitation Outpatient Services, VICTORS, VISOR, and low vision clinics. Other VIST coordinator duties include identifying newly identified individuals who have severely disabling visual impairment, providing counseling, problem resolution, arranging a review of benefits and needed services, and conducting educational and outreach programs relating to VIST and blindness.
Welcome to Blind Rehabilitation Services (BRS)
The Blind Rehabilitation Programs:
- Support blind and low vision Veterans and active duty Service members in regaining their independence and quality of life to enable their successful integration into family and community life.
- Support family and significant others to better understand visual impairment and foster the provision of appropriate support, to assist in enhancing home environments and to reduce caregiver burden.
Blind Rehabilitation Service will provide high quality care in a timely and appropriate manner enabling blinded Veterans to acquire the skills and capabilities necessary for the development of personal independence and emotional stability.
Blind Rehabilitation Services
Rebuilding Lives Through Excellence in Rehabilitation
The Department of Veterans Affairs provides blind and vision rehabilitation programs to eligible Veterans and active duty Service members who are visually impaired. Veterans Health Administration is the first national healthcare system to completely and seamlessly integrate rehabilitation services for patients with visual impairments into its health benefits. This ensures that patients receive the finest medical and rehabilitation care, as well as cutting-edge assistive technology.
There are approximately 157,000 Veterans in the United States who are legally blind, and more than one million Veterans who have low vision that causes a loss of ability to perform necessary daily activities. Those figures are expected to increase in the years ahead as more Veterans from the Korean and Vietnam conflict eras develop vision loss from age-related diseases such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.
Beginning in 2008, the VA implemented a progressive plan to expand vision and blind rehabilitation to Veterans and eligible active duty Service members with visual impairments, ranging from earliest vision loss to total blindness. New programs in BRS provide opportunities to keep those with early vision loss active and integrated in their families and communities.
Blind Rehabilitation Outpatient Specialist (BROS)
An outpatient training program that employs a multi-skilled and experienced blind rehabilitation instructor who teaches skills in the Veterans home environment and/or local Veterans Affairs medical center. The BROS instructor has advanced technical knowledge and competencies in least two of the following disciplines at the journeyman level: orientation and mobility; living skills; manual skills and visual skills. The BROS has been cross-trained to acquire broadly based knowledge in each of the BRC disciplines including computer access training.
The positive aspects being achieved by employing full-time VIST Coordinators became increasingly evident as these professionals now had the time to educate VA staff, as well as the community at large, of the VA's visual impairment and blind rehabilitation programs. Subsequently, the VIST program became more visible with the net result being that greater numbers of Veterans with severe visual impairment were being identified and identified in an early stage of their blindness. This, in turn, strengthened the comprehensiveness of VA Blind Rehabilitation Service as it allowed the VIS Teams to provide early rehabilitation interventions for Veterans in their adjustment to the impact of sight loss. Ultimately, these positive outcomes would result in the creation of 86 additional full-time VIST Coordinator positions. The VA now employs 92 full-time VIST Coordinators, who currently serve 33,000 visually impaired Veterans.
- Rebuilding Lives Through Excellence in Rehabilitation
- BRS Model of Care
- Intermediate and Low Vision Clinics
- VISOR Program
- Blind Rehabilitation Centers
- Special Programs at Blind Rehabilitation Centers
- VICTORS Program
- VIST Coordinators
- Returning Servicemembers
- Technology and Guide Dogs
- Family Centered Care
- How to Get Help
Dole VA Medical Center
2nd Floor, Room 276-26
Hours of Operation
Monday - Friday
7:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.