CareSouth goes mobile for children’s health

Because many students in rural communities don’t have the opportunity to visit a doctor’s office regularly, CareSouth Carolina is bringing the care to them.

CareSouth Carolina’s mobile unit visits 57 schools in five school districts in the Pee Dee every year, providing annual wellness visits and screenings to thousands of students around the area.

“Of course you’re going to take off work and take your child to the doctor when they’re sick, but what about when they’re not sick?” Jeri Andrews, Mobile Health Services Program Director, said.

“Parents in many of these communities just can’t afford to take off work and, in many cases, not be paid for the time they take off to take their child for a doctor’s visit for screenings and things of that nature,” Andrews said. “That’s where we’re able to step in.”

Parents are able to pre-register their students for the service. During the school year, each student pre-registered will receive a full physical by a family nurse practitioner, including vision screenings, hearing screenings and a look at their vital signs and social-history risk factors. CareSouth Carolina is then able to make referrals for abnormal findings and social needs.

“We’re able to work with the school nurses, who are around the students every day and identify specific needs,” Andrews said. “Then we have community health workers that can follow-up with families and answer questions.”

The unit is part of CSC’s ROADS initiative (Reach out and Deliver Services). CareSouth Carolina has three units — Mobile ROADS, Care ROADS and Freedom ROADS — that are able to provide on-site, remote care.

The school-based care program began in 2015 with the purpose of providing care to schools in rural communities after the service was identified as a need in several Pee Dee communities. The program started with the Chesterfield County School District. Since then, it has expanded to add Lee, Dillon, Marlboro and Darlington Counties to its repertoire.

“I think it’s pretty awesome that we get to go to the child’s environment,” Andrews said. “They’re more likely to be honest and open because they’re comfortable. That lets the child be free. It’s great to see what needs are unique to each community and to be able to assist with them in any way that we possibly can.”

For more information on the school-based program, contact a member of the ROADS team at 843-309-8102.

Author: Rachel Howell

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