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The Daily Tar Heel

Commissioners to Discuss Adult Long-Term Care with Legislators

Kate Barrett, elder-care supervisor for the Orange County Department on Aging, said members of the nursing and adult care home community advisory committees hoped to engage in a dialogue with state legislators about shortcomings in the adult long-term care system.

"We'll tell legislators where we see the system failing and then review legislative acts that impact long-term care," she said. "We'll also talk to legislators to see what we can do on this end to promote better care facilities."

Cheri Rosemond, chairwoman of the Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee, said committee members expect state Sens. Ellie Kinnaird and Howard Lee as well as Reps. Verla C. Insko and Joe Hackney, all Orange County Democrats, to attend Tuesday's meeting. A representative of U.S. Rep. David Price, D-N.C., is also expected to attend, she said.

Rosemond said adult-care committee members will emphasize to legislators concerns about access and availability for those in need of care; staffing, training and management of facilities; and residents' quality of care and quality of life.

Affordability of rooms, transportation to and from facilities, and hygiene, food and privacy will also be discussed, she said.

Charron Andrews, a member of the adult-care committee, said committee members would also address lack of commitment from the corporate offices of larger adult-care facilities.

Andrews and Rosemond emphasized the importance of addressing state legislation that has changed or might affect long-term care providers.

Tuesday's meeting with lawmakers is an opportunity to discuss legislative issues with people who can influence them, Andrews said.

"We'll address specific legislative issues that have come up and may come up again -- issues that legislators can speak to," she said.

Rosemond said this will be the first meeting between state legislators and the adult-care committee. In addition to providing an opportunity for advocates to discuss their concerns about adult-care and nursing home facilities, the meeting will provide an opportunity for legislators to learn about committee organization and activities, she said.

Andrews said members of the community advisory committees were appointed by the county.

The advisory boards are volunteer boards that visit adult and nursing facilities primarily on a quarterly basis to make sure that the requirements of the patients' bill of rights are being met in the facilities, she said.

When the boards discover violations of the patients' bill of rights, they submit reports to either the state nursing home ombudsman or the Division of Facilities Services in the state Department of Health and Human Services, Andrews said.

Tuesday's meeting will offer a chance for legislators and advocates to provide further protection to residents in adult care and nursing homes and perhaps minimize the need for violation reports, she said.

"One of the purposes of this meeting is to see how we can work together and solve these problems, which are repeated problems."

The City Editor can be reached

at citydesk@unc.edu.

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