Monthly Archives: September 2020

DHEC Observes National Assisted Living Week, Sept. 13-19

National Assisted Living Week is September 13-19 . This year’s theme is “Caring is Essential,” DHEC recognizes the amount of hard work, care and love that it takes to keep South Carolina’s assisted living facilities operational and its residents happy and healthy.

Assisted Living Facilities,also known as Community Residential Care Facilities (CRCFs) in SC, are designed to accommodate residents’ independence, changing needs and preferences and come in a wide range of sizes

CRCFs are not the same as nursing homes, and offer different healthcare. CRCFs are not designed to offer round the clock care for their residents and are not required to have any licensed personnel on staff.. CRCFs offer assistance with items such as medication management, meals, and supportive services such as laundry or transportation.

“Many CRCFs have been impacted and faced challenges with COVID-19. Various areas of DHEC remain in constant communication with the facilities to provide guidance and assistance. Maintaining relationships with facilities is crucial to the DHEC’s mission, said JoMonica Taylor, Interim Section Manager for Residential Facilities Oversight.

During the pandemic, Healthcare Quality has conducted a total of 84 Infection Control Focused inspections at CRCFs. Due to the high risk of COVID-19 to the vulnerable population in congregate settings and the spread of COVID-19 throughout SC, Governor McMaster ordered DHEC to restrict visitation at CRCFs in March 2020. The facilities have shown resiliency during these trying times and great creativity in problem solving. In lieu of visitations, facilities have incorporated closed-window visits, virtual visitation through tablets, and phone calls. During holidays, some  facilities coordinated drive-by parades for residents to enjoy.

On September 1, 2020, in coordination with the Governor’s Office, DHEC partially lifted the visitation restrictions by issuing guidelines for limited outdoor visitation, with the intent to issue more guidelines that further lift visitation restrictions in coming weeks.

More facts about CRCFs

  • There are 497 licensed CRCFs in South Carolina.
  • There are over 150 CRCFs with Memory Care Units for residents suffering from dementia.
  • CRCFs are inspected annually
  • 3 new CRCFs have opened in SC during the pandemic

DHEC agrees that Caring is Essential, and thanks CRCFs for all that they do. These essential facilities and their staff provide a service to their communities that directly contributes to DHEC’s vision, healthy people living in healthy communities.

”We are incredibly grateful for the cooperation and patience of families and staff at these facilities, both of whom continue do to the best that they can to keep residents connected with loved ones as our state continues to respond to the pandemic,” Taylor said.

For more information on assisted living facilities, please explore the links below:

South Carolina Assisted Living Association

South Carolina Healthcare Association

September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month: A CLOSER LOOK AT SICKLE CELL DISEASE

September is recognized every year by the health community as Sickle Cell Awareness Month. Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a genetic disease that impacts families across the globe. Keeping individuals and communities informed about the struggles that come with the daily management of SCD can help raise awareness, as well as debunk stereotypes and stigmas associated with persons who have SCD.

SCD affects millions of people throughout the world.  Although SCD is most common among African Americans in the United States, it can also affect Hispanics and people whose ancestors come from countries in South Asia (such as India), southern Europe (such as Greece and Italy), and the Middle East (such as Saudi Arabia and Lebanon).

Quick Facts About SCD and SCT

  • SCD is a blood disorder that causes sickling of the red blood cells.
  • Sickle-shaped red blood cells become stuck in blood vessels and cause disruption of blood flow – this results in crises.
  • SCD affects 100,000 people in the United States.
  • SCD is an inherited blood disorder from the person’s parent, like any other genetic trait, such, as hair color and texture and eye color
  • SCT is where a person inherits one sickle cell gene and one normal gene.
  • SCT is not a disease, and the individual is generally asymptomatic.
  • SCT affects 1 million to 3 million Americans and 8 to 10 percent of African Americans.
  • Persons with SCT can pass the trait on to their children.

MinorityHealthSickleCell

SCD and COVID-19
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there is significant concern for individuals with underlying medical conditions. The CDC has indicated that persons with SCD and other blood disorders are among groups of individuals at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

Below are recommendations from the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America (SCDAA) for patients and families with SCD regarding COVID-19:

  • Discuss with your healthcare provider about converting all routine in-person appointments to virtual or telephonic.
  • Ask your healthcare provider for information about COVID-19 signs and symptoms and the importance of physical distancing to limit chances of exposure and infection. Discuss enhanced emotional connection through virtual or cellular-based modes.
  • Continue to seek medical help from your doctor, nurse, or hospital for fever and other signs of infection. Be sure to call first for advice on where to go safely for an evaluation.
  • Make certain you have an ample supply of all prescribed medications at home (including analgesics) to manage both acute and chronic pain.
  • Adhere closely to the correct use of your medications.

 DHEC’s Sickle Cell Program & Partnerships

DHEC is committed to educating the community and public about the availability of resources and services for individuals and families living with sickle cell disease.  DHEC’s Division of Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN), provides assistance to persons with sickle cell disease by covering services, such as: medical expenses, physician visits, durable medical equipment, medical supplies, and prescription drugs.  Assistance is offered to both children and adults who meet eligibility requirements. Additionally, CYSHCN partners with the Newborn Screening Follow-Up program to ensure infants who are newly diagnosed with sickle cell disease have a medical home to address treatment and care for their disease.

In addition to financial assistance and care coordination services, CYSHCN engages with the four Sickle Community Based Organizations in the state — the James R. Clark Memorial Sickle Cell Foundation, – Louvenia D. Barksdale Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation, – Orangeburg Area Sickle Cell Foundation and – COBRA Human Services Agency Sickle Cell Program – to ensure persons living with SCD have access to community resources and support services. Each of these organizations provide genetic screening, counseling, education, case management, and support groups to address the needs of families and individuals living with SCD. If you have questions about testing for you or your family, you can visit one of the four sickle cell community-based organizations.

Sickle Cell Has Many Faces

Sickle Cell Has Many Faces as illustrated through this video by the Center for Disease and Prevention Control. This video highlights how people of different races and ancestry could have SCD.

If you have questions about the DHEC sickle cell program, contact the CYSHCN office at 803-898-0784. For general information about sickle cell disease, visit cdc.gov/sicklecell or https://www.sicklecelldisease.org/.