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Nursing program expands care for aging South Carolinians

As South Carolina’s population ages, the number of patients requiring care increases each year. Nursing shortages in South Carolina are forecast to be 10,000 by 2030, threatening the complete care patients deserve and increasing health care costs for many. With a new $3.1 million grant, the University of South Carolina is coordinating access to Certified Nurse Aids (CNAs) training sites. New aids will work alongside doctors and nurses to provide fundamental, personalized attention for patients, improve health outcomes and reduce nursing burnout. 

Why it matters

  • More than 18 percent of the state’s residents are 65 or older according to a 2019 census report, an increase of 4 percent from 2010. 
  • In 2023, the S.C. Department on Aging found that poverty levels among senior South Carolinians of color are disproportionate compared to white residents. 
  • Almost 22 percent of senior Black South Carolinians live in poverty, compared to 8.5 percent of the state’s Latinx seniors and 7 percent of the state’s white seniors.

The solution

Palmetto Caregivers is a free, two-month certification program led by the university’s College of Nursing, with backing from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and the Centers for Disease Control. Participants receive instruction and training to prepare for critical duties as well as job placement assistance upon completion. Funding is available to train and test up to 3,000 students.

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