Author Archives: SC DHEC

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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Healthcare Quality celebrates clients and partners in October (Residents’ Rights Month, Pharmacists’ Month, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Month, National Fire Prevention Week)

October is a month with many important health care observances. DHEC’s Healthcare Quality would like to spotlight several groups for this month.

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DHEC Marks National Health Education Week 2020

Since 1995, the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) has celebrated National Health Education Week (NHEW) during the third week of October. NHEW is focused on increasing national awareness on major public health issues and promoting a better understanding of the role of health education. This year’s theme is “Health Education as a Catalyst for Change.” 

“Whether collaborating with community partners to conduct community needs assessments and develop community health improvement plans, educating new parents on the importance of a properly installed child passenger safety seats or working to address and prevent the spread of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, our DHEC Health Educators are a critical part of our agency and the work we do,” said Suzanne Sanders, Community Health Services External Systems Manager. “They serve as catalysts for change within their communities every single day.”  

About 30 employees serve on this team at DHEC.  

Health education specialists offer knowledge, skills and training that complement health care providers, policy makers, educational experts, human resource personnel and many other professionals whose work impacts human health. Health education specialists promote and improve health literacy and equity through research, education and advocacy. Health equity and literacy are important determinants of health status. 

“Health educators are key players in promoting DHEC’s mission to improve the quality of life for all South Carolinians by protecting and promoting the health of the public and environment,” Sanders said. 

Regional Community Systems directors are planning activities and recognitions throughout the week in their respective regions.