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VA Capitol Health Care Network


Prosthetic and Sensory Aids

patient getting eyeglasses adjusted

Patient having his eyeglasses adjusted

By Mary Riley
Tuesday, November 17, 2015

When you hear the word "prosthetic" your first thought might be of an artificial limb. But high-tech arms and legs are just a small portion of VA's 4000-item prosthetic inventory, which includes devices to assist Veterans with mobility, enhance senses such as hearing, and make living spaces more convenient and user-friendly. In fiscal Year 2014, VISN 5 spent over $60 million on more than 263,000 prosthetic and sensory aid items prescribed to its network patients. If you have a need for an assistive item, VA has a solution.

Hearing aids, one of the most prescribed items VA provides to patients, range in size from tiny completely-in-canal models to open-fit ones which allow low frequency sound to naturally enter the ear while high frequency sounds are amplified. VISN 5 fills over 11,500 prescriptions for hearing aids and related components each year, while also managing the repairs of malfunctioning devices in its facilities' Audiology departments.

Other often-dispensed items include walkers and eyeglasses—VISN 5's providers fabricate over 30,800 pairs of glasses annually.

Dozens of auto devices are available to help keep Veterans mobile. In the car, extenders increase leverage for turning keys in auto ignitions or doors, and other devices act as handles. Swiveling seat cushions and leg lift straps (which allow people to use their upper-body strength) assist drivers and passengers in getting in and out of vehicles. Hand controls and brake pedal extensions help with steering, stopping, and accelerating; panoramic or convex mirrors reduce blind spots for people with neck or spinal restrictions.

Prosthetic devices for the home include ramps, door openers, beds, and specialized kitchen utensils, counters, and appliances. Bathrooms can be equipped with roll-in showers, lowered sinks, and sturdy handrails.

At VA, we’re dedicated to keeping our Veterans on the move, in whatever ways they require.


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