Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks gets creative during pandemic

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 375 views 

Stephanie Wilson, a health technician with Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks in Fayetteville, assists veteran Mark Bonner with his hearing aids.

How do you troubleshoot a malfunctioning hearing aid during a pandemic?

It’s a concern audiologists at the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks (VHSO) in Fayetteville have addressed during COVID-19. To follow social distancing guidelines and keep both patients and staff safe, VHSO staff found it best if audiologists and audiology assistants developed a curbside service program to meet veterans in their vehicles to assist with hearing aid issues.

When a veteran contacts VHSO with hearing aid problems, audiology staff instruct them to remain in their vehicle upon arrival at the clinic and then text or call with their location and vehicle information. With appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), an audiologist or audiology assistant meets the masked veteran in the parking lot.

While the veteran remains in their vehicle, the hearing aid is brought into the lab for cleaning and repair. Once the cleaning and repairs are complete, staff return the hearing aid to the veteran waiting in their vehicle.

In some cases, the fitting of a hearing aid requires the veteran to step outside their car.

VHSO officials say providing prompt hearing aid services despite COVID-19 is extremely important because veterans with hearing loss are especially vulnerable to isolation. Curbside hearing aid services have ensured that patients’ hearing aids are serviced promptly to alleviate the feeling of social isolation.

VHSO serves veterans who live in Northwest Arkansas, southwest Missouri, southeast Kansas and northeast Oklahoma.

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