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Licensed to Care

Karen MoriartyThe assisted living industry is in the national spotlight at present, in the wake of a concerning national broadcast on the shortcomings of unlicensed, unregulated assisted living facilities. While some providers may find the glare a bit discomforting, Carillon Assisted Living and other licensed, high-quality senior care providers welcome the opportunity to help families make better informed choices about the quality of their loved ones’ care.

Carillon’s message to North Carolina seniors and their families is this: Though other states like California may have regulatory shortfalls with regard to assisted living, the same is not true here at home. In fact, North Carolina’s adult care homes are at the forefront of standards for quality.  

And speaking of assisted living standards – licensed providers like Carillon have them, unlicensed providers do not. Choosing a licensed provider of assisted living care comes with the assurance that your loved ones’ needs will be met in all facets of their life – from the assistance they receive with daily tasks, to the cleanliness and safety of their home, to the administration of the medicines they take, to the nutritional value of their meals, and more.

It is Carillon’s view that, in the absence of licensure and state oversight, such unlicensed facilities ought not be able to call themselves ‘assisted living’ at all.

Wendy Livengood, the executive director of Carillon of Salisbury, put it beautifully when she said recently, “In short, with an unlicensed facility, you are merely renting a room. What happens in that room is not the facility’s responsibility. When you come to my community, which is rated four-stars by the State of North Carolina, you have a provider that is responsible for your mother’s care, you have my word as a licensed assisted living administrator, and between all of us, you have a partnership that is committed to providing your mom with the highest standard of care available in the state.”

I am enormously proud of Wendy and her team, and of all 16 Carillon communities across the state. Each one must not only meet the strict standards of state regulators, but the more stringent measures set forth by Carillon. You see, our greatest endeavor is not to simply meet the state’s requirements, but to exceed our residents’ expectations.  

Jan Park, executive director of Carillon of Southport, credits Carillon’s intense dedication to a higher standard of care for her community’s fourth consecutive year of A+ resident satisfaction scores.

“Is it easy to consistently have to achieve such high standards?” says Jan. “No. But if it were easy, anyone could do it. I tell prospective residents and families this: It is Carillon’s job to provide high-quality care, and it’s the state’s job to make sure we do. And we do exactly what we say we are going to.”

–Karen E. Moriarty, President and CEO


 11 Questions to Ask When Searching for Senior Assisted Living 

1.  Are you a licensed provider of assisted living for seniors?

 [Carillon: The adult care home license should be posted at the entrance to the community, along with the administrator’s license.]

 2. What is the ratio of caregivers to residents in assisted living? In Alzheimer’s care?

 [Carillon: While adult care homes have specific regulations on caregiver ratios, no similar regulations exist for unlicensed facilities.  The facility should provide you with staffing ratios when asked.]

 3.  What is the care staffing at night?

[Carillon: Because unlicensed facilities are exactly that, there is no guarantee that there will be any staff at night.  As a result, often times there isn’t any staff or there is a skeleton staff at best.]

 4.  Does all the care staff I see actually work for the facility?  Are care staff immediately available or do I have to “schedule” care? Do I have to pay separately for care?

[Carillon: By law, unlicensed facilities are not allowed to provide care.  As a result, most skirt these regulations by allowing a third-party to come in and provide “scheduled” care, which means that if you don’t schedule it, you don’t receive the care.  And yes, this is an extra bill for you to pay.]

 5.   Are your staff trained and certified to administer medications?

[Carillon: By law, unlicensed facilities cannot administer medications.  They may have a third party administering medications, which again translates into a lack of oversight and another bill.]

6.   Do you have state approved training programs for caregivers?

7.   Do you have a nurse on duty? 

[Carillon: Though state regulations do not require it, Carillon has a nurse, in addition to round-the-clock caregivers.] 

8.  How often do state officials inspect your facility?

[Carillon: The local Department of Social Services visits licensed adult care homes in their county every 60 days.  State regulators ‘grade’ the facility every two years. Unlicensed facilities are completely unmonitored and unregulated.]

9.  Has this facility been cited for regulatory violation by the state, and if so, for what?

 [Carillon: If a facility is licensed, the consumer has the benefit of access to the facility’s compliance history.  The facility is required to inform the public of citations, and this history is available on line.]

10.  May we speak with a resident or family member to get a recommendation for this community?

 [Carillon: The facility administrator should have a list of residents and family who have consented to be contacted.]

 11.  May we contact local EMS personnel to inquire about their experiences with this assisted living facility?

 [Carillon: Emergency professionals are often a good referral source, as they see the facility regularly, in all lights.]








Posted in Assisted Living, From the President, Resources on August 16, 2013

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