Low Vision Team Wins Award

yellow paper cut out ribbon on light blue background

The Low Vision team in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh was an award winner for the 2023 Community and Ambulatory Services Quality Fair.

They won for using Addison Gibson funding to give low vision equipment to patients who otherwise would not be able to afford it. They worked with Patient Navigator Dana McGinnis-Thomas to help identify patients in need, got financial approval, and then trained them on the new equipment.

The UPMC Vision Institute and Rehabilitation Institute staff and Eye & Ear Foundation worked together to promote this opportunity for patients. Dr. William Smith, OD, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Director of the Low Vision Service, who provided the patients to the Low Vision clinic with specific recommendations based upon their current functional vision needs. As occupational therapists, Holly Stants, MS, OTR/L, SCLV, CLVT, UPMC Rehabilitation Institute Low Vision Team Leader, and Maria Shoemaker, OT, followed recommendations for treatment intervention and provided training on the devices, assisting patients to find the best fit for their functional low vision needs. McGinnis-Thomas helped patients navigate the course for meeting requirements for funding and liaised for additional services they needed. She worked closely with Craig Smith, EEF Development Officer, who provided access to the AG funds.

Julie Cassidy and Sidney Kabinoff provided significant input with development of a survey tool to identify patient awareness, access to, and comfort with low vision rehabilitation services and devices. They worked on data collection and prepared the final PowerPoint that was submitted to the committee.

In addition, there was support from Sally Coll, Bernie Gapinski, and Dr. Andrew Williams.

“With this, our pilot project, we are thankful for this win and hope to continue to carry out additional projects to facilitate best practices and patient experience in low vision rehabilitation,” Stants said.

Following a luncheon on September 28, an award ceremony was held where a project representative gave a brief overview of the project.