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VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System

 

Visual Impairment Services Team Program (VIST)

The Northampton VA Medical Center VIST Program is designed to improve quality of life for participants through the development and enhancement of skills and capabilities needed for personal independence, adjustment, and successful reintegration into the community and family environment.

  • To inform veterans and their families about services and benefits available through the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA).
  • To ensure the provision of health care and rehabilitation training to visually impaired veterans.
  • To help the individual & family in adjustment to and management of sight loss.

Purpose

Vision loss is a condition which can affect every aspect of the involved person’s life. In many instances, veterans and families are not aware of the health and rehabilitation services available to veterans with visual impairments.

The Visual Impairment Services program ensures that veterans are referred to services and programs that can assist with the adjustment to sight loss.

Who May Benefit from VIST Services? 

If a veteran requires the assistance of another person or exhibits any of the following functional deficits, a referral to VIST may be indicated:

  • Difficulty reading mail, newspaper, medication labels or other standard size print while using conventional glasses.
  • Difficulty performing activities of daily living, such as managing their medications, grooming, cooking, using the phone, telling time, etc., as a result of their visual impairment.
  • Diabetic veterans who have difficulty seeing to measure their insulin or seeing to check their blood sugar.
  • Veterans who have difficulty ambulating safely and independently as a result of blindness or visual impairment

Eligibility

To be eligible for Visual Impairment Services a veteran must:

  • Have an honorable discharge from the military.
  • Be visually impaired or legally blind (this diagnosis is made by an eye doctor).

VIST Services include:

  • Assistance with eligibility and enrollment
  • Assessment of the individual’s rehabilitation & training need
  • Support & adjustment counseling for veteran and family
  • Review of individual’s needs for adaptive aids, equipment, & training
  • Review of veterans benefits
  • Complete eye examination
  • Low vision evaluation
  • Physical examination with additional evaluation and/or treatment by specialists as necessary
  • Hearing examination
  • Comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation services

For further information or to enroll in the VIST program, please contact the VIST Coordinator Kelli Jarosz at 413-584-4040, ext. 2058.

Useful Links

Department of Veterans Affairs 

Department of Veterans Affairs Blind Rehabilitation Service 

Department of Veterans Affairs Benefits

Links to Other Websites for the Visually Impaired

Blinded Veterans Association*

Talking Books/National Library Service *

Blinded American Veterans Foundation*

Association for Education & Rehabilitation of the Blind & Visually Impaired*

Blinded Veterans and Friends

Massachusetts Commission for the Blind*

Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired*

*Links will take you outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs website. VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked websites.

Contact Info

Location

  • VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System

Contact Number(s)

  • 413-584-4040 Ext. 2058

Hours of Operation

  • Mon-Fri 8:00am-4:30pm