Visually-Impaired Services Outpatient Rehabilitation - VA New Jersey Health Care System
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VA New Jersey Health Care System

 

Visually-Impaired Services Outpatient Rehabilitation

Related Resources

VISOR Manual

Frequently Asked Questions

What Services are available in the VA New Jersey Health Care System for visually impaired Veterans?

There are three services that make up the Blind Rehabilitation Program:

  • The Visual Impairment Services Team Program identifies and helps legally blind Veterans to adjust to their vision loss using a case management model.
  • The Blind Rehabilitation Outpatient Specialist works with legally blind Veterans and provides evaluation and training to assist the Veterans in maintaining independence in several skill areas.
  • The Visual Impairment Services Outpatient Rehabilitation Program evaluates and provides training for low vision and legally blind Veterans living in New Jersey and is part of the network of services called the Continuum of Care.


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What are the VISOR Program and the Continuum of Care?

The Continuum of Care is a range of services for blind rehabilitation and low vision across the country. The program was developed to provide services to Veterans with vision problems to facilitate adjustment.
Each VA site provides some level of Low Vision Services. The VISOR Program provides most levels of care to low vision and legally blind Veterans who are seen in the New Jersey Health Care System. The VA Blind Center Program at West Haven VA provides a 4-6 week training experience to legally blind Veterans.


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What are the components of the VISOR program?

The VISOR Program is made up of three integrated parts.

1. The outpatient clinic enables low vision Veterans to be evaluated and provided training services and equipment to help them improve adjustment to vision loss. Veterans are assessed by a Blind Rehabilitation Specialist as well as a low vision optometrist.

2. The VISOR Hoptel is a 10 day training program for up to 6 low vision Veterans who need skill training in Orientation and Mobility, Low Vision, Living Skills and Computer Access Technology as well as adjustment counseling. It is set up for Veterans who are able to attend to their personal care (including medication administration) needs overnight in a hotel setting within the VISOR program. There are 10 scheduled hoptel sessions per calendar year.

3. The VISOR Home Care Program will be available to provide skill area evaluation, home safety evaluation and skill training to Veterans who are unable to come to clinic or have specialized needs that require intervention at home.


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What is the VISOR Hoptel Program?

The Hoptel program is a 10 day intensive independence training program for low vision and legally blind Veterans who need intensive training in 2 or more skill areas. It is set up for Veterans who are able to attend to their personal care (including medication administration) needs overnight in a hotel setting within the VISOR program. Veterans stay for 10 days and work on skills to help them adjust to vision loss.

Once someone is approved for the Hoptel program, they work with the Blind Rehabilitation Specialists to develop treatment goals in each skill area including computer access technology, low vision and low vision therapy, orientation and mobility, vision rehabilitation therapy and social work. Midway through the program each Veteran will participate in a treatment review with the team to evaluate progress and identify other needs. At the end of the program each Veteran meets with Blind Rehabilitation Specialists to review their progress, and plan referrals for any additional adjustment needs.


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What is Low Vision?

Low Vision is when a person has a problem doing visual tasks based on changes in vision or not being able to function at the measured level of visual acuity.


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What professionals will be providing the BR services?

The VISOR Team is made up of a Low Vision Optometrist, Blind Rehabilitation Specialists in Low Vision, Orientation and Mobility, Living Skills, Computer Access Technology, and a Licensed Social Worker.


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Who is eligible for services?

Low Vision and Legally Blind Veterans who are eligible for VA Health Care are eligible for VISOR Services. If you are not yet registered in the VA New Jersey Health Care System, VISOR can help you to apply for registration and services.


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Is similar Blind Rehabilitation services available for non-Veterans?

The New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired provides services to residents of New Jersey in both home training and residential programs. The CBVI and VA are working on a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on the provision of comprehensive services to visually impaired Veterans in New Jersey


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What are prosthetics devices for the visually impaired?

Prosthetics can be any equipment that will assist a visually impaired person to perform a task that has become hard to do because of vision loss. Talking watches, signature cards, reading guides, talking calculators are examples of devices which help a visually impaired person function. Equipment is designed to be used in conjunction with training in different skills areas.


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How are treatment goals developed?

Your skill area instructor(s) will evaluate your needs. The instructor will work with you to set up goals to work on based on your needs and interests.

You may have goals in several different skill areas. A VISOR treatment plan will be developed with the VISOR team, you and you significant others. This plan will be reviewed from time to time to make sure that your goals are being addressed.


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When are the VISOR treatment services over?

Your Blind Rehabilitation Specialist and team will discuss your progress towards your goals. If the goals change, or you have met your goals, or if you need more services than VISOR can provide then services will stop. Depending on what goals you had you can be referred to the Blind Rehabilitation Outpatient Specialist, the Visual Impairment Services team Coordinator, VA Continuum of Care Services or community based agencies If your situation changes and you need more services, you can contact VISOR to get evaluated for more training services.


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How do I get access to my medical records?

You can contact the Release of Medical Information Section at either campus of the VA New Jersey Health Care System to get the VA documents you need.


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Am I eligible for high-tech devices, such as CCTVs, portable CCTVs, adaptive equipment for computer use, and the KNFB reader?

Veterans are evaluated in VISOR to determine the type of equipment and training that will enable a Veteran to perform daily tasks in the least restrictive way possible. Veterans who are determined to need high-tech adaptive devices will be provided evaluation and training on devices and will be issued appropriate equipment.


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Protection from Abuse:

If you feel that you are the victim of physical, emotional, sexual or financial abuse of any kind, please ask to speak with the VISOR social work about this situation.


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How can I find out more about VISOR or get referred for services?

If you are a Veteran in New Jersey who wants to know more about VISOR, please call 908-647-0180, Extension 4437. If you live in New York State, please call your nearest VA Medical Center or clinic for information about the continuum of care low vision program in your area.

If you would like to have someone from the VISOR Program talk with your service organization about available services, please contact Bill Kallenberg at 908-647-0180, Extension 4347.


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Contact Info

Location

  • VA New Jersey Health Care System

Contact Number(s)

  • 908-647-0180 Ext. 4437

Hours of Operation

  • Mon-Fri 8:00am-4:30pm