COVID-19 Action Plan for Blind Rehabilitation Centers

Purpose: To provide clear communication to the 13 VHA Inpatient Blind Rehabilitation Centers (BRCs) regarding current and pending admissions.

 

Action:  Effective immediately and until further notice, all VA BRCs will suspend and postpone admitting patients in order limit COVID-19 exposure risk for Veterans being treated in and traveling to / from these facilities.  Veterans who are currently inpatients in a BRC will be evaluated and managed for proper discharge planning.

 

Areas of Consideration:

 

  • Consistent message through BRC, VHA Blind Rehabilitation Continuum of Care, and Blinded Veterans Association to minimize alarm and ensure accurate communication.

  •  Individualized Case Management: 

    • Determine the most appropriate disposition for each Veteran currently admitted to a BRC.

    • Develop appropriate timeline for discharge.  Current inpatients should be discharged as soon as viable, and stagger discharges as necessary.

    • Patients should be made discharged to home ideally, although accommodations may be made to retain inpatients if they are at greater risk for exposure if discharged.

    • Ensure each discharged Veteran is provided with resources as appropriate for their plan of care.

  • Determine and provide necessary follow-up care, as appropriate, at home by their Visual Impairment Service Team, or through Telehealth, or other means.

  • Expectations for BRC staff members:

    • Do not report to work if sick.

    • Determine plans for how time and services will be reallocated during absence of inpatients.

  • Follow local VAMC guidance with regards to:

    • Infection control measures and maintaining clean environment in BRCs and patient rehabilitation areas.

    • Operating and maintaining Outpatient programs (Visual Impairment Service Teams (VIST), Blind Rehabilitation Outpatient Specialists (BROS), HOPTEL and VISOR BRS continuum of care clinics).

    • Maintaining utilization of currently scheduled non-VA community care services for blind rehabilitation services.

Risk Communication:  Manage messaging by crafting targeted correspondence to address:

  • Currently admitted BRC inpatient Veterans and their families.

  • Notifying Veterans and postponing pending BRC admissions.

  • Staff education for BRC staff, VIST Coordinators, and BROS with regards to communication and case management for continuity of care.