Health briefs for August 3rd-9th

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BMH offering online ER check-in

Patients with non-life-threatening conditions needing to go to the Beaufort Memorial Hospital (BMH) Emergency Department can now  “save their spot in line” for an ER visit, cutting down the time they spend in the waiting room. 

With the hospital’s new convenient self-scheduling service, patients can go online and choose from a list of available check-in times. After checking in digitally, they will receive an email with details on their upcoming visit, including information on how to reschedule or cancel their visit.

“Rather than have to sit in a waiting room when you’re feeling ill, you can stay in the comfort of your own home until the time of your visit,” said Beaufort Memorial Hospital Emergency Department Director Kevin Kremer. “If we get busy and need to bump back the visit, you’ll receive an electronic notice.”

The free service is available to all patients whether or not you have insurance or are on Medicare or Medicaid.

Upon arrival, patients will be evaluated by a healthcare professional to assess their condition and determine the best course of treatment. 

“If sicker patients come into the Emergency Department, they may be seen first,” Kremer said. “In an ER, patients are triaged based on the urgency of their illness or injury.”

New patients are asked to arrive early to complete necessary paperwork. They should bring a valid photo ID, their insurance card if they have healthcare coverage, and any prescription drugs or supplements they take. 

For more information on Beaufort Memorial’s online ER check-in or to use the free service, visit www.BeaufortMemorial.org. 

Red Cross announces emergency blood shortage

Thousands of people have responded to the emergency call for blood and platelet donations issued by the American Red Cross in early July, but there continues to be a critical summer blood shortage. Eligible donors of all types are urgently needed. 

After issuing the emergency call, the Red Cross has experienced a 30 percent increase in blood donation appointments through mid-July.

About half of the appointments were scheduled by donors using the free Blood Donor App or at redcrossblood.org. 

Despite this improvement, blood products are still being distributed to hospitals as fast as donations are coming in, so more donations are needed to meet patient needs and replenish the blood supply. 

“The blood supply is like a cell phone battery, it constantly needs recharging,” said Nick Gehrig, communications director, Red Cross Blood Services. “We sincerely appreciate those who have responded to the call to help save lives and encourage those who haven’t to consider rolling up a sleeve and give the gift of life. It only takes about an hour but can mean a lifetime for patients.” 

Nearly 61,000 fewer blood donations than needed were given through the Red Cross in May and June, prompting the emergency call for donations in early July. The shortfall was the equivalent of the Red Cross not receiving any blood donations for more than four days. 

To schedule an appointment to donate, use the Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help reduce the time it takes to donate.

As a special thank you, those who come out to give blood or platelets with the Red Cross through Aug. 31 will be emailed a $5 Target eGiftCard.

Alzheimer’s patients topic of discussion

As people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias progress in their journey and the ability to use words is lost, families need new ways to connect.  

RiverOaks Assisted Living is offering a discussion on tips on how to communicate with a person struggling with Alzheimer’s.

This discussion will be held from 10:30-11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 15, at RiverOaks Assisted Living, 1251 Lady’s Island Drive in Port Royal.

To reserve a space and for more information, contact Candace at 843-521-2298 or via email at CCamp@royalriveroaks.com

This free educational program is hosted by RiverOaks Assisted Living and Alzheimer’s Family Service of Greater Beaufort.

Two seats open on mental health board

The Beaufort County Legislative Delegation is now receiving applications to fill two vacant seats on the Coastal Empire Mental Health Board. 

The purpose of this board is to administer the Coastal Empire Community Mental Health Center in a manner such that the services provided will assist citizens with serious mental illnesses and serious emotional disturbances to improve the quality of their lives.

Board members must be:

• Representatives of local health departments, medical societies, county welfare boards, hospital boards and lay associations concerned with mental health as well as labor, business, civic groups and the general public. 

• One member of the board must be a medical doctor licensed to practice medicine in South Carolina. 

The delegation will also consider consumer and family representation, including parents of emotionally disturbed children and adolescents, when recommending and appointing members to the board. 

The board meets from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of every other month.

Qualified citizens who are willing to serve should contact delegation liaison Cindy Maxey at 843-255-2260 or at cmaxey@bcgov.net for an application.  

All applications must be submitted by Friday, Aug. 11, to be considered.