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.