VA Palo Alto Health Care System

Visual Impairment Services Team (VIST)

Patrick Finan, VIST Coordinator, walks his seeing eye dog Vern at the Western Blind Rehab Center. What is VIST?
The Visual Impairment Services Team (VIST) Program at VAPAHCS provides services to Veterans and Active Duty Service Members experiencing significant vision loss. The VIST Coordinator provides assessment, case management and referrals to services. They also help the Veteran and their families cope with the functional and emotional issues associated with impaired vision.

VIST Program Objectives:

  • Identify and inform eligible Veterans and Active Duty Service Members about services and benefits.
  • Ensure that health care and rehabilitation services are made available to these individuals.
  • Provide education and help them cope with vision loss and reintegrate into their activities and communities.

Members of the VIST Team
The Visual Impairment Services Team is comprised of health care and allied health care professionals charged with the responsibility of ensuring that Veterans and Active Duty Service Members with vision loss are identified, evaluated, and provided health and rehabilitation services to maximize adjustment to sight loss. The team is primarily comprised of: the VIST Coordinator, Social Work, Ophthalmology, Optometry, Blind Rehabilitation Out Patient Services (BROS), Blind Rehabilitation Inpatient Rehabilitation (WBRC), Prosthetics, Primary Care, Audiology, Pharmacy, Admission and Eligibility, Physical Rehabilitation and Medicine, Brain Injury Specialist, Veterans' advocacy organizations and state or community agencies for persons with vision loss.

VIST Services
One of the services provided to visually impaired individuals is the Annual VIST Review. This is a yearly examination to assess the Veteran's adjustment to sight loss, current vision, hearing, and health. Based on information collected during the VIST review, Veterans may be referred for training and/or services to address their needs. The Palo Alto VIST Program also offers benefit reviews, support groups, community activities, and presentations to agencies regarding vision loss. For individuals who have experienced vision loss due to a brain injury or stroke, the Palo Alto Polytrauma VIST program provides referrals to specialty training programs to address vision loss caused by brain injury.

Many of the rehabilitation programs offered at the VA assess, train, and issue to Veterans with vision loss adaptive items which may include magnification devices, a large print or talking computer system, adaptive technology, canes, watches, talking paper currency identifiers, audible prescription readers, and adapted recreational equipment.

Referral Services
Referrals for services may include, but are not limited to:

  • VA Inpatient Blind Rehabilitation Training (WBRC)
  • VA outpatient services (VICTORS & BROS)
  • Comprehensive Neurological Vision Rehabilitation (CNVR)
  • Low Vision Services
  • Adapted Computer Technology Training
  • Community/State Agencies
  • Library of Congress Talking Book Program
  • Paratransit Services
  • Adapted Recreational Programs

VIST Logo

Referral to VIST

Referrals can be submitted by the Veteran, family, health care professional, or other concerned individuals. For more information, please contact:

Patrick Finan, MSW
VIST Coordinator
VA Palo Alto Health Care System
3801 Miranda Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94304
Phone: (650) 852-3467
Email

If you have a brain injury or stroke that has caused vision loss, please contact:

Elizabeth Jessen
Polytrauma VIST Coordinator
VA Palo Alto Health Care System
3801 Miranda Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94304
Phone: (650) 852-3431
Email

Patient getting an eye exam

Links

Western Blind Rehabilitation Center (WBRC):
- Website
- Blog
- Booklet
Blinded Veterans Association
Comprehensive Neurological Vision Rehabilitation
Family Services Brochure
National VA Blind Rehabilitation Services
Visual Impairment Services Pamphlet
Comprehensive Vision Care Video