The VANIHCS Mobility Clinic evaluates all specialty manual and power wheelchairs, specialty cushions and mattresses, outpatient hospital beds, and home access issues. The clinic employs three occupational therapists, owns three mobility vans, and serves over 1,400 Veterans a year. All Veterans that are eligible for VA services are also eligible for the Mobility and Sensory Aids Clinic services. The clinic travels to all six VANIHCS locations, nursing homes, and Veteran residents in northeast Indiana area.
“Our Mobility and Sensory Aids Clinic strives to look at the ‘big picture’ for the Veteran’s quality of life,” said William Bockover, Chief of Prosthetics. “We are always looking for ways to improve our services and work with other VA departments to enhance Veteran-centric care.”
The Mobility and Sensory Aids Clinic serves a variety of clinics, including Poly Trauma, Spinal Cord Injury, Ortho, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Plastics, Physical Medicine and Rehab Services Wounded, Primary Care, and Amputee Clinics.
“Adding a Spinal Cord Injury Clinic to the Fort Wayne Campus has allowed our Veterans to receive care at their home VA and not have to travel to Chicago,” said Bockover.
The model was first developed by Mitch Allard, Registered Kinesiologist Therapist, Assistive Technology Professional in early 2000. In 2015, VANIHCS opened their Mobility and Sensory Aids Clinic with the help of Bockover, who worked with Allard at the Indianapolis VA before transferring.
Empowering the Community Living Center
The Mobility Clinic also assess the Marion Community Living Center’s resident’s power wheelchairs and scooters before they can utilize them on campus.
“My power scooter makes it much easier for me to get around the campus than my manual wheelchair,” said George Gorsuch, VA Northern Indiana Resident. “I struggled to wheel myself up the ramps because of a shoulder injury. My scooter allows me to have more freedom.”
The clinic also offers Home Improvement and Structural Alterations (HISA) grants for disabled Veterans. The HISA grant helps disabled Veterans modify their home to help ease certain home challenges. Some of the modifications include remodeled bathrooms, widening doors and lowering counter tops.
Alexandria Sharpe is a public affairs specialist at the Northern Indiana Health Care System.