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Quality of Care

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What's New at Your VA?

VA is constantly working to provide more excellent service and care for Veterans. This includes new programs and initiatives, advanced training, and renovations and improvements to enhance health care facilities. Each VA project is an opportunity to improve the delivery of services to America's heroes. Featured below are some of the exciting improvements in quality of care taking place around the country:  Click on the region below to find out what's new in that area.

Map of the United States by region Northwest Southwest Southeast Midwest Northeast


Northeast Southeast Midwest | Northwest Southwest




Northeast

“My experience at the Dom has been nothing short of a blessing.” —Billy Whitton, U.S. Army Veteran

Newly redesigned IV medication labels in use at VA Pittsburgh could significantly reduce the risk of life-threatening medication errors in the operating room.

New IV Labels Help Reduce Medication Errors


A VA Pittsburgh study recently published in the Journal of Patient Safety found that changes to labels on intravenous medication could significantly reduce the risk of life-threatening medication errors in the operating room.

The study found that a redesigned label doubled the odds that study participants would select the correct medication during an operating room emergency.

The study was based upon a real-world case where a nurse anesthetist discovered an IV medication incorrectly stocked in an operating room anesthesia cart. Fortunately, the nurse identified the incorrectly stocked medication prior to administering it, averting any patient harm but raising questions about IV medication labeling. Read more... 


Southeast

Physical Therapists, Heather Mote and Vicki Cheng, demonstrate the LSVT BIG movements that they teach Veterans during the 16 session treatment.

Physical Therapists, Heather Mote and Vicki Cheng, demonstrate the LSVT BIG movements that they teach Veterans during the 16 session treatment. 

Improving Mobility for Veterans with Parkinson's

Helping Veterans improve mobility is the goal of physical therapists and the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment is doing just that for Parkinson's patients at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center. Parkinson's disease causes changes in the brain that lead to body movements getting smaller, which over time, restricts body mobility. LSVT BIG is a physical therapy protocol that was developed specifically for Parkinson's patients to increase the amplitude of limb and body movement. The treatments help patients' speed and balance with an overall goal of enhancing their quality of life.

"The longer a patient is on medication for Parkinson's the less effective the medication will become," says Heather Mote, VA physical therapist. "LSVT BIG is a treatment that will continue to help the patient throughout the duration of their life."   Read more...


Midwest

The Marion VA Speech Pathologist Duo: Johnna Devin and Valerie Tallman bring a combined expertise of approximately 50 years.

The Marion VA Speech Pathologist Duo: Johnna Devin and Valerie Tallman bring a combined expertise of approximately 50 years.

Taking back Control of Your Environment

“Our work here is really about how you control your environment.  Right now you control the environment, because you ask, you offer and you may even teach others about what is around you – all of those things are environmental control.  It’s not just what you say, it’s also about body language, expressions, and facial gestures” says Speech pathologist, Valerie Tallman.

When Valerie Tallman first began interning with the VA, she recalls a time when Veterans had different needs than our returning Veterans do now.  The Marion VA used to be predominantly an inpatient Hospital and most of the speech language pathology  patients were acute, and had just recently incurred their injury/issues which were mostly strokes for patients over 60 years old.  Read more...


Northwest

From the San Francisco VA Medical Center, PADRECC Movement Disorders Clinical Nurse Specialist Susan Heath, MSN, RN, prepares for a video Telehealth appointment at the Yountville Veterans Home.

From the San Francisco VA Medical Center, PADRECC Movement Disorders Clinical Nurse Specialist Susan Heath, MSN, RN, prepares for a video Telehealth appointment at the Yountville Veterans Home.

SFVAHCS Uses Telehealth to Reach Yountville Vets

The San Francisco VA Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education, and Clinic Center (PADRECC) recently held its first “Clinical Video Telehealth” (CVT) visit to the Veterans Home of California in Yountville, much to the delight of some residents there.

Many Yountville residents receive their health care at the San Francisco VA Medical Center (SFVAMC)—59 miles away. Although transportation is provided for residents to and from SFVAMC, the trip itself can be especially challenging for Parkinson’s patients, who often require caregiver support for travel. There are additional challenges for Parkinson’s patients who are gurney- or wheelchair-bound.

Now Parkinson's patients living at the Veterans Home in Yountville can have their medical appointments without traveling.  Read more...


Southwest

vBloc implant in the abdomen intermittently blocks vagus nerve signals from the brain

vBloc implant in the abdomen intermittently blocks vagus nerve signals from the brain

Dallas VAMC First VA to Perform vBloc Implant

VA North Texas Health Care System is the first VA in the country to perform vBloc implant, a cutting-edge weight loss therapy. vBloc is a pacemaker-like implant called the Maestro® Rechargeable System that intermittently blocks intra-abdominal vagus nerve signals or transmission of messages involving food intake and processing between the brain and stomach. The Maestro System is wireless and customizable to meet the needs of a patient’s changing lifestyle. The implant is minimally invasive and performed as an out-patient procedure that does not alter or restrict the patient’s anatomy.

The procedure was performed May 28, 2015 by Dr. Sachin Kukreja, Director of Bariatric Surgery at VA North Texas, and the patient is recovering well.  Read more...