Long term care facilities of today are very different than those of the past, and there are many advocacy groups, protective agencies, and regulatory agencies all playing a part to ensure residents are treated with dignity, respect, and quality of life.
Community Advisory Committees
The Community Advisory Committee (CAC) is a group of appointed citizens that assist the Long-Term Care Ombudsman in advocating for the rights of long-term care residents. They are appointed by the county commissioners and are trained by the Long-Term Care Ombudsman. Community Advisory Committees play a vital role in linking residents to their communities.
Community Advisory Committees can be contacted to help address concerns with guidance from the ombudsman, discuss involvement with volunteer opportunities in facilities, and provide additional advocacy information.
Division of Health and Service Regulation
In North Carolina, long term care facilities are regulated by the Division of Health Service Regulation (DHSR). DHSR holds facilities accountable for maintaining strict care and licensure guidelines set forth by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). They can be contacted to file a formal complaint against a facility relating to a licensure issue.
The DHSR complaint intake unit can be contacted at 800-624-3004 or 919-855-4500.
Division of Social Services
Adult care homes and family care homes are primarily regulated by the Department of Social Services' (DSS) Adult Care Home Specialist at the county level. This person works in conjunction with the Division of Health Service Regulation to ensure that adult care homes and family care homes are upholding the licensure and care guidelines that have been set forth at the federal and state level.
Regional Adult Care Home Specialists
- Ashe County ACH Specialist: 336-846-5719
- Avery County ACH Specialist: 828-733-8230
- Mitchell County ACH Specialist: 828-688-2175
- Watauga County ACH Specialist: 828-265-8100
- Wilkes County ACH Specialist: 336-651-7400
- Yancey County ACH Specialist: 828-682-6148
When contacting an advocacy or regulatory agency it is helpful to have as detailed of information about the incident or issue as possible including resident name, date of birth, how long they have been at the facility, the time the issue arose, staff members involved, any witnesses to the incident or issue, action taken by facility, previous action taken by you or your loved on, etc.
TIP: It is a good idea to keep a log or journal of communication with the facility about your care or your loved ones care. This can make daily communication, care planning, and complaint resolution easier if all your information is organized and easily accessible.
There are many other resources and advocates for residents in long term care facilities. Listed below are a small handful of organizations available to help. To further discuss resources that would help you or your loved, please give us a call!
Disability Rights of NC is a non-profit organization that focuses on providing legal based assistance to individuals with disabilities across the age spectrum, including older adults in long term care facilities. They exist to help protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination. They can be contacted at:
Disability Rights North Carolina
3724 National Drive
Raleigh, NC 27612
Toll Free: 877-235-4210
Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
This is a section of the Division of Health and Human Services that exists to help individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing. They can provide additional information and resources on hearing aids and adaptive equipment as well as technical assistance and training for individuals in both the community and long term care facilities.
The office that serves individuals in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yancey counties is based in Morganton, NC. They can be contacted at:
107 Foothills Drive
Morganton, NC 28655
The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long Term Care is a national based advocacy group that addresses quality care and quality of life through policy change. They have a wide variety of information available on how to best advocate for yourself or your loved in a long term care facility.
The Consumer Voice
1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 425
Washington, DC 20036
The North Carolina Culture Change Coalition is a group of professionals, residents, ombudsmen, and community members who exist to help promote residents and staff to live and work in a home environment, rich in variety, spontaneity, and opportunity. They do a wide variety of workshops to better educate healthcare professionals on person centered care as well as managing civil monetary penalty grants for facility enrichment programs. Person centered care is the concept that residents in long term care facilities should have care that is rooted in choice and individualized as much as possible.
"Music & Memory" is a non-profit organization which assists long-term care facilities in providing personalized music for the residents through digital music and mp3 technology. Personalized music is particularly beneficial for persons with Alzheimer's and dementia, depression, MS, delirium, as well as many other issues. Therapeutic benefits include increased verbalization, decreased depressive symptoms, and increased physical movement. To date, program has been implemented in over 1, 250 facilities, including 3 here in the High Country. Facilities that are certified go through a series of webinars to learn best practices for getting the program up and running.