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Northeast Sight Services educates 65 Forward Health Center

KINGSTON, Pa.Geisinger’s 65 Forward Health Center just became even more well-equipped to care for patients 65 and older. 

The primary care facility — already specifically tailored to the expanding 65-and-over population with small patient panels, longer doctor’s visits, in-house lab and imaging services, and health, wellness and social activities — recently received accessibility training for blind and visually impaired patients from Northeast Sight Services. Geisinger was the first organization to participate in the nonprofit’s 2020 Community Accessibility Campaign. 

Exeter-based Northeast Sight Services recognizes the need to provide resources for the fastest-growing segment of the United States population as the baby boomer generation continues to age into the 65-and-beyond bracket for the next 9 years. This aligns squarely with Geisinger’s mission to make health easier for that same group of people by redesigning primary care to offer them an additional layer of care. 

“For more than 100 years, Northeast Sight Services has worked to improve quality of life and help maintain independence for people who are blind or have low vision,” said Amy Feldman, the organization’s director of development. “Working with Geisinger to bolster that effort in our community is a natural collaboration.”

Feldman and Northeast Sight Services vision resource manager Kristen Boyle presented to the 65 Forward staff, educating them on available resources for the blind and visually impaired, the wide spectrum of people with visual needs, proper practice for guiding and assisting patients, and even how the architecture and lighting in a space can affect patient experience. 

The presentation featured live demonstrations of sighted guide—the dos and don’ts of assisting the blind and visually impaired—and passing around glasses specially designed to allow wearers to experience the effects of age-related eye conditions like macular degeneration and glaucoma. 

“This training was incredibly helpful to our staff,” said Stephanie Pacovsky, operations manager for Geisinger 65 Forward locations in Kingston and Scranton. “Our health center already meets much of the criteria for being accessible to the visually impaired, but with this additional education, we will be better suited to care for our patients with visual needs.”

65 Forward staff physician James Tricarico, D.O., said he found the training valuable as well. 

“It’s important for us to realize that not everyone who has low vision and needs help navigating our health center can be as easily identified as someone who might be using a cane or a service animal,” said Dr. Tricarico. “Knowing how to engage and guide our visually impaired patients will help us care for them as efficiently as we do their sighted counterparts.”

About Geisinger
Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1 million people it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes 10 hospital campuses, a health plan with more than half a million members, a Research Institute and the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. With nearly 24,000 employees and more than 1,700 employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania by billions of dollars annually. Learn more at Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Doctor participates in sight services training.
Geisinger 65 Forward Health Center staff physician James Tricarico, D.O., tries on a pair of glasses designed to simulate one of several age-related eye conditions like glaucoma and macular degeneration. Representatives from Northeast Sight Services passed out the goggles recently as part of the accessibility training they offered 65 Forward staff members. 
Geisinger staff members who participated in sight services training.
Participants in Northeast Sight Services accessibility training at Geisinger 65 Forward Health Center in Kingston are, front row, from left, Wendi Cerra-Hand, 65 Forward wellness coordinator, Christa Winter, 65 Forward community health assistant, Vanessa Herrera, 65 Forward patient access representative, Amy Feldman, Northeast Sight Services director of development, Pam Charney, 65 Forward dietitian, Sara Peperno, Northeast Sight Services, and Linda Rowe, Geisinger Health Plan program manager. Back row: Carol Kole, RN, 65 Forward, Stephanie Pacovsky, 65 Forward operations manager, James Tricarico, D.O., 65 Forward staff physician, and Kristen Boyle, Northeast Sight Services vision resource manager. 
Geisinger staff members undergoing sight services training.
From left, Northeast Sight Services vision resource manager Kristen Boyle and director of development Amy Feldman demonstrate recently how to properly act as a sighted guide for blind and visually impaired members of the community during accessibility training at Geisinger 65 Forward Health Center in Kingston. 

For media inquires:

R. Matthew Mattei
Media Relations Specialist

570-808-3971
rmmattei1@geisinger.edu