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Logo for the Journal of Rehab R&D
Volume 43 Number 5, September/October 2006
Pages 793 — 808

Abstract - Historical perspective on the development of outcomes measures for low-vision and blind rehabilitation in the Department of Veterans Affairs

Judith L. Babcock-Parziale, PhD;1-2* Michael D. Williams, PhD3-4

1Southern Arizona Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Care System, Southwestern Blind Rehabilitation Center, Tucson, AZ; 2Department of Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ; 3Rehabilitation Research and Development Center of Excellence for Aging Veterans with Vision Loss, Atlanta VA Medical Center, Decatur, GA; 4Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA
Abstract — This article reviews the instrument development process and synthesizes current research findings for three low-vision and blind rehabilitation outcomes measures developed in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The examined measures include the Blind Rehabilitation Service Functional Outcomes Survey, the Functional Assessment of Self-Reliance on Tasks, and the VA Low Vision Visual Functioning Questionnaire. We examined vision rehabilitation literature using two fundamental measurement criteria to compare and contrast the instrument development process and research findings for the three measures. Our findings suggest the three measures need refinement to meet the two criteria and proposed measurement standards for instruments in this field. Advanced development goals for the instruments are identified. Measures that meet the specified and proposed measurement criteria will help establish an evidence-based system and guide practice at the VA and in the field.
Key words: aging, blind rehabilitation outcomes, clinician ratings, low-vision outcomes, measurement, outcomes assessment, psychometrics, Rasch model, self-report ratings, visual impairment.

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