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Assistive Technology Program

The Assistive Technology Program of the Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Service is responsible for evaluation, development and implementation of appropriate assistive technology services, strategies, devices and/or practices to improve the functional challenges faced by service members and Veterans in their daily life roles in various environments.

The Assistive Technology Program has staff that provides services in the primary areas of polytrauma, spinal cord injury, mental health, acute care, outpatient, and community living centers.

  • Administers and interprets assistive technology evaluation in the following areas of assistive technology:
    • Powered Mobility & Seating (excludes scooters)
      • Devices designed to improve and optimize mobility when Veterans are no longer able to achieve by conventional rehabilitation or medical interventions.
    • Adaptive Driving Vehicles (see Kinesiotherapy for details)
    • Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Devices
      • Devices and technologies used by Veterans with impairments in gestural, spoken and/or written modes of communication.
    • Adaptive Computer Access
      • Devices and/or software designed to allow Veterans who have lost the use of a body part or function to access a computer.                                                         
    • Electronic Cognitive Devices
      • Devices and/or software designed to improve the everyday function of Veterans with cognitive impairments.
    • Electronic Aids to Daily Living
      • Devices designed to help with the daily living needs of Veterans who have lost the use of a body part or function.
    • Adaptive Sports
      • Recreational sports and sports equipment that helps Veterans compensate for their physical disability.
  • Adapts and modifies treatment plans, activities and procedures to meet the needs of the patients. 
  • Elicits patient participation in implementing assistive technology objectives in restoring or maintaining patient performance.
  • Determines need for appropriate assistive/adaptive devices/equipment and training. 
  • Educates patient and family/caregiver in the proper application/installation/use for a specific device(s).

The Assistive Technology Program provides these services in the Polytrauma Transitional Rehabilitation Center AT lab; Main Hospital Inpatient AT lab, Mental Health AT Lab and the KT Driving Rehabilitation. In addition, the AT program utilizes the patient open wireless access in these locations as well as on Spinal Cord Service, PM&R Service and Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center for some AT evaluation and training.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), rehabilitation engineering is “the use of engineering principles to 1) develop technological solutions and devices to assist individuals with disabilities and 2) aid the recovery of physical and cognitive function lost because of disease or injury.” The AT program at the McGuire VA Medical Center has three rehabilitation engineers who collaborate with clinicians and patients to evaluate, design, fabricate, and implement the best possible assistive technology solution to meet patient goals. Our rehabilitation engineers are experts on existing assistive technology products. Additionally, they have strong skills in custom fabrication using mechanical design software, 3D printers, 3D scanners, custom electronics, and more. Thanks to their engineering knowledge, our AT program can provide enhanced care to patients and innovate new solutions.

The Assistive Technology program offers TeleRehabilitation Services in collaboration with other VA Medical Centers across VHA as well as the VA clinics (Charlottesville, Fredericksburg and Emporia.  In addition, we offer telerehabilitation services to the home allowing Veterans to access their VA health care providers and receive assistive technology services  through secure, encrypted video teleconferencing from the comfort and privacy of their own home.

Contact your medical provider to request a consult, if you have any assistive technology needs.  For more information about the Assistive Technology (AT) Program at the Central Virginia VA Health Care System, please contact: Melissa Oliver, AT Program Coordinator at 804-675-5000 x2134 or melissa.oliver@va.gov.