Assisted Living Center Shut Down
1:00 pm
Fri September 12, 2008

Assisted Living Center Shut Down

North Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services yesterday shut down an adult assisted living center in Cleveland County. That left the county with the task of finding homes for sixty residents.

The assisted living center in Fallston called Unique Living has been cited repeatedly this year for code violations.

There have been problems with door alarms, food service and basic sanitation.

In June, the problems were so bad Cleveland County's Department of Social Services asked the state to take over the center.

At the time, state investigators did not find enough reason to take over the facility or suspend its license.

That stance changed this week. A woman believed to be suffering from dementia wandered off. She still hasn't been found. State investigators returned and deemed the place unsafe.

Jeff Horton, the director of the state's division of Health Service Regulations, says the team concluded that Unique Living was failing its residents. "We felt like the facility did not have the capacity or the capability to supervise the residents and make sure they were safe," Horton explains.

He says the primary violation was that the center had no door alarms and staff were not properly keeping an eye on the outside doors. "The facility is not a locked facility so residents can come and they can go, but the facility needs to have systems in place to monitor who's coming and who's going and to know when the residents leave," he says.

Now county officials are trying to find homes for about sixty of the center's residents. The state has given them until midnight tonight.

The state has been investigating Unique Living since a resident wandered off and died of dehydration in 2006.

The center did not immediately return calls.

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