LAURINBURG – Residents in the Alzheimer’s unit at Willow Care Assisted Living and Memory Care will soon have to find a new home.
Family members said they were told in a special meeting on Tuesday that they have 30 days to move their loved ones because Willow Place is closing its Memory Care facility.
The two-paragraph letter handed out to families simply stated the home was issuing a 30-day discharge notice and that the facility and the Scotland County Department of Social Services would assist in finding new placements for residents. The letter was signed by Georgette Jones owner of Z&V Adult Care who manages the facility.
Those present at the meeting say they were told by Jones and Willow Place’s owner Grey Angell that the decision to close the section was made because administration felt it could better address 16 violations cited by the state, if caring for Alzheimer’s patients were taken out of the equation.
The Alzheimer’s unit is a 14-bed facility that currently has nine residents.
The decision to close the unit was solely that of the owners of the facility and not the state, according to Cobey Culton public information officer with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
DSS Director, April Snead said her department provided contact information to families and made them aware of DSS adult placement services.
“We can assist in finding care for family members and working through everything it takes to move someone to a new facility,” Snead said.
DSS can let families know what facilities are available and what criteria the patients need to meet for admission; they will also provide limited help with forms.
“We will help let them know what paperwork they have to have in place, like: a primary care physician has to recommend a level of care,” Snead said. “We can’t do paperwork, but we can make sure they have the paperwork they need.”
The home is the only memory care unit in Laurinburg, according to Snead, meaning families in Laurinburg and surrounding areas will not be able to have their relatives nearby.
Deborah Dial and other families have been lobbying the home to correct the problems it was cited for so that they could keep their loved ones in Laurinburg.
Dial was given notice in July that her mother, Nellie Hatcher, needed to be placed in another home because Willow Place could no longer meet her mother’s needs.
Dial believes Hatcher was evicted in retaliation for Dial’s complaints to the state.
Dial appealed the decision and was given a hearing at the Department of Health and Human Services last Tuesday. She was told that she would have the department’s decision within 10 days.
Willow Place’s decision to shut down the memory care facility will render the hearing’s outcome moot.
“It was the biggest sham I’ve ever been in the middle of in my life, lies lies, lies,” Dial said of the announcement. “They alluded to the fact that they could comply better with regulations if they didn’t have to deal with the complaints of the family members, and Angell said in this area it’s hard to find qualified help.”
Dial said that her mother may have to be placed in a facility out of state because she has not been able to find a place in North Carolina that will take her.
“There’s nowhere in here Laurinburg that is going to take Mama because they said Mama was a threat and very violent which is a flat out lie,” Dial said.
Dial is trying to make arrangements to care for Hatcher at home and Snead is trying to see if she qualifies for assistance to help her with in-home care, but nothing is set in stone.
The home was charged with the infractions following an inspection in May. The Department of Health and Human Services Division of Health Service Regulation gave Willow Place until July 9 to correct the violations, or be issued a provisional license.
The home was unable to come into compliance by the deadline. The state issued a provisional license to the facility on July 14 when Z&V Adult Care LLC, failed to correct the issues, according to Kelly Haight with the state Department of Health and Human Services.
The provisional license gives operators until Oct. 11 to come into compliance or face other measures.
If Willow Place does not comply by then, the Department of Health and Human Services can extend the license for 90 days if inspectors believe the home is making suitable progress in addressing the issues. The state could also revoke the home’s license if the owners of Z&V Adult Care do not bring the home into compliance or do not remain in compliance.
Z&V has submitted a plan of correction to the state.
Reach Beth Lawrence 910-506-3169