COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTW) — The South Carolina Commission on Disabilities and Special Needs unanimously voted Thursday to support the agency’s progressive plan to improve safety, accountability, and workplace training at the state’s five regional intermediate care facilities, commonly referred to as the DDSN Regional Centers.
DDSN Regional Center Intermediate Care Facilities are operated by the state and provide
24-hour care, supervision, and treatment to the most fragile individuals served by DDSN.
The Regional Centers, located in Clinton, Columbia, Florence, Hartsville, and Summerville, are generally recommended only when all other appropriate home and community-based services aren’t an ideal fit for a family’s needs and circumstances.
During Thursday’s commission meeting, DDSN announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the SC Department on Aging, which operates the South Carolina Long Term Care Ombudsman’s Office.
Under the agreement, the LTCO will produce content for training videos that will be used by DDSN to better train direct care staff in the onboarding process and throughout the year. DDSN hopes that the training will help to eliminate abuse and neglect cases and improve the overall quality of care of all residents, especially those with increasing behavioral needs.
“The pandemic created extremely difficult staffing challenges in our ICFs and the stress on the direct support professional (DSP) workforce from high turnover, staffing shortages, and high overtime has been immense,” Constance Holloway, Esq., Interim State Director of DDSN, said. “As a result of increased data collection, monitoring and gathering input from supervisors and frontline workers, DDSN is developing a set of new initiatives and stronger guidance to enhance worker satisfaction and quality of life of those served in the state’s five regional intermediate care facilities.”
DDSN Commission Chair Stephanie Rawlinson and other Commissioners expressed their full support of initiatives to strengthen the regional center workforce and reinforce efforts to protect the health and safety of all residents.
“This Commission has a zero tolerance for any instances of abuse at the regional centers. The new training provided by the LTCO is welcomed and affirms the agency’s commitment to facilitating positive changes throughout DDSN,” Rawlinson said.
A Taskforce for ICF Reform and Improvement was also created and the members were appointed during the commission meeting. Other new initiatives include reinstating the state-wide Regional Center Family Council so that DDSN can regularly gather input from self-advocates and families to establish an open line of communication.
“The families serve as an important fidelity check on our standard of care at the regional centers. Reconstituting a statewide family and parent group will help DDSN to focus on issues of common concern at the centers and give us ideas on improving life for the families we serve,” Holloway said