Author Archives: SC DHEC

DHEC recognizes National Home Care, Hospice and Palliative Care Month

Join DHEC in observing Home Care, Hospice, and Palliative Care Month. This month-long celebration provides an opportunity to show appreciation for the thousands of SC nurses, home care aides, therapists and social workers who have dedicated their lives to improving the health of the patients and families they serve.

To honor this observance, we spoke with Courtney Hodges, Vice President of Marketing, Communications & Events for the South Carolina Home Care & Hospice Association (SCHCHA). DHEC has worked with SCHCHA throughout the years and is proud to call the association a community partner.

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Midlands Community Health Workers have reached vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 response

Early in the COVID-19 response, the Midlands Region recognized the need to get messaging out to sometimes hard-to-reach, vulnerable populations such as the elderly, Hispanic, migrant camps, homeless, African-American and Native American. In order to better serve this need, the first Community Health Workers (CHW) came on board in May.   

A CHW is someone who has an intimate knowledge of the community and its people as well as a trusted member of that community.   

“Not only do I engulf myself into my community, but I also can make a positive impact for people,” Layla Zarif said. “I love that my job lets me spend more time in a county that I am so in love with.”   

That relationship allows the CHW to reach those who may not be reached in other ways and to become a liaison between these populations and community resources, including DHEC and other health agencies.   

“I love being a CHW because I enjoy helping people, relationship building, community collaboration and helping to connect people with resources and access to care,” Hazel Lowman said.  

While the CHW’s were hired for COVID response, they are quickly becoming an integral part of the outreach efforts in the Midlands.

They are promoting testing sites and sharing COVID-19 materials and information with businesses, organizations and individuals. They are also participating in community events and developing relationships at an individual level.   

To better help them build the trust that is essential to their jobs, they also share other important information in addition to COVID. They have been involved with food box giveaways, promoting the Census, assisting with WIC and medical appointments and many others. 

From their interactions, the region has learned of additional languages that materials should be translated into and how to integrate services into specific populations or neighborhoods, to name a few.   

“I became a CHW when I saw that our communities, states, country and entire world was in desperate need of trustworthy education and guidance to take control of health advocacy in the midst of a pandemic,” Katherine Brown said. “Now I can see that even without a pandemic our communities need passionate CHWs who are here for the people to help guide individuals and families to a healthier life.”   

Taylor Houser sees herself as part of a team addressing the needs of the communities that she serves.    

“Being a Community Health Worker allows me to play my part in bettering the lives of those around me and better myself through continuous education and exposure to new ideas and information,” she said. 

The CHW’s in the Midlands have become an important part of the Community Systems Team, collaborating with the core team and the outreach team on a seamless approach to this work.  Each part of the team has its own role, but all work together toward an overall goal of reaching the greatest number of people. 

CHW’s enter the field for many reasons, but the overarching quality is a strong desire to serve others.   

“Simply put, there is more happiness in giving than in receiving and showing compassion to the least of these my brothers as a Good Samaritan provides riches that money cannot buy,” Bruce Wright said.   

National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Memory Screening Month

November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and National Memory Screening Month.

There are currently over 95,000 people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias (ADRD) in South Carolina. According to the SC Alzheimer’s Disease Registry, 25% of the ADRD population in the state resides in a long-term care facility including nursing homes and assisted living facilities. DHEC regulates 207 facilities that offer memory care  services.

As we close in on the end of 2020, it’s difficult to reflect on the year and not think of the effect COVID-19 has had on our loved ones in long term care facilities (LTCFs). Residents and patients experiencing ADRD are highly susceptible to mental anguish and confusion due to the necessary changes being made at facilities for infection control and prevention. Changes to routines, use of unfamiliar personal protective equipment (PPE), and disruption to daily schedules can lead to fear and anxiety resulting in increased depression and worsening behavioral changes, such as agitation, aggression, and wandering.

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DHEC Honors our Veterans

November 11 is Veteran’s Day, a holiday to recognize and thank the men and women who have served our country.  

We would like to thank all of our DHEC employees who served their country and are now continuing their service with our state. Our staff share a passion for service, and we are proud to have many employee veterans from all branches and backgrounds who have chosen to continue their careers of service with us. 

A Flickr album featuring photos of our veterans is available here.

National DEA Drug Take Back Day is October 24; October is Substance Abuse Prevention Month

It’s that time of year again! Clean out your cabinets and drawers and bring your expired, leftover, or unused prescriptions to a participating DEA Take Back Day location near you on Saturday, October 24, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Last October’s Take Back Day resulted in 11,124lbs of prescription drugs collected at a total of 86 South Carolina participation sites.

In light of the recent health advisory issued by DHEC, we spoke to Christina Galardi, a public health analyst in the Bureau of Chronic Disease & Injury Prevention at DHEC. The ongoing opioid epidemic combined with the COVID-19 pandemic has caused some alarming statistics. Christina weighs in on those trends and explains why the DEA event is so important, especially now.

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