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Wellness matters

Posted: November 8, 2011 8:55 a.m.
Updated: November 9, 2011 5:00 a.m.

You might wonder how KershawHealth meets the health and wellness needs of our community. After all, creating a healthier community is an integral part of our mission. How do we provide the education, support and activities that will accomplish this worthy goal?

It is critical to remember that KershawHealth’s role is to provide the sort of clinically-based offerings we are uniquely suited to develop. While there are, after all, many outlets for fitness and general wellness activities, few organizations in our community have the technical expertise to offer disease education and management, medically-based screenings, health seminars and more. It is why we have chosen to draw on our core competencies and clinical expertise to focus our available resources on these efforts. It is why we are engaged in providing a wide variety of health-related education and support programs, screenings and outreach activities.

Our diabetes education and management program is a perfect example of the positive impact this decision can have. According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environment Control (DHEC), more than 8 percent of those in Kershaw County are diabetic, and the number grows each year. Currently, diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in our state. And the disease is nearly twice as prevalent among African Americans as it is among whites. The impact on community hospitals like KershawHealth is staggering. The same DHEC report notes that in 2010 there were 197 ER visits directly related to diabetes, and nearly 2,700 visits for other reasons where diabetes was also a condition. Any steps we take to reduce the impact of this disease will certainly have a positive influence on our community.

KershawHealth’s “It’s Your Choice” Diabetes Self-Management Program is proven to help people better manage this disease. With our clinical expertise, we are able to offer individual assessments and one-on-one consultations, as well as group classes taught by a certified diabetes nurse educator, registered clinical dietitian and other health care team members. In the past two years, the KershawHealth Foundation has provided funding to ensure those who do not have health insurance, or those whose health insurance does not cover educational offerings, have access to this program. The results are impressive. Nearly 70 percent of participants reduced their A1C levels (an important indicator of proper management), 60 percent increased their activity level (typically by about 30 minutes a day), and more than 75 percent of participants lost weight. It’s results these diabetics can live with.

In addition, KershawHealth will always be a leading force in the development of community programs like SafeKids and Eat Smart, Move More Kershaw County. We encourage walking and exercise programs at schools and recreation centers. Through SafeKids, we provide car seat safety checks and child safety information and programs for parents. Our asthma and diabetes camps show children that they can lead active, healthy lives even with these conditions. We host educational support groups for Alzheimer’s and sickle cell disease, diabetes, for those who are caregivers or suffer bereavement, and more. We provide free screenings for diabetes, hypertension, prostate cancer and other health risk factors at locations throughout the community.

Rest assured, KershawHealth will continue to offer a wide variety of clinically-based, innovative programs and classes that are designed to have a noticeable impact on our community. Just the sort of programs you have come to expect from us. Our commitment to wellness and education will not waver. Because in the end, a healthier community is better for all of us.

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