Powers named new chief at Roan Highlands Center

By Thomas Wilson
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  Joy Powers has been named new administrator at Roan Highland Nursing Center.
  Powers took the helm at the 80-bed long-term care skilled nursing facility in August. She had previously worked with another facility owned by the center's parent company when she learned of the job.
  "I have worked with care centers management group before so I was very familiar with the company," said Powers.
  A Unicoi County native, Powers still lives in Unicoi County about one mile from the Carter County line.
  She said the health acuity level of nursing home residents was changing. Diseases such as Alzheimer's and other types of dementia were becoming more pronounced as the general population lives longer.
  "I think our facilities are becoming more focused on treatment for diseases such as dementia," Powers said. "We are able to identify people with Alzheimer's disease and dementia.
  "There is a stronger need and we are getting better at caring for those individuals."
  Powers brings more than 14 years of management and administrative experience to her new position. Before coming to Roan Highlands, Powers helped establish and became administrator of the Center on Aging and Health in Erwin where she spent three years. She served as administrator at Lakebridge Health Care Center in Johnson City for four years.
  Powers earned a bachelor's degree in health care administration and a master's degree in public health from East Tennessee State University. While working toward her undergraduate degree, Powers entered into an internship at Unicoi County Memorial Hospital. She said the facility's administrator got her very involved in the hospital's long-term nursing unit.
  "I fell in love with it and decided it is what I want to do," she said.
  Prior to becoming a nursing home administrator, Powers worked as an assistant administrator at Colonial Hill Health Care Center in Johnson City. She also was director of environmental services and public relations as well as special projects assistant at Unicoi County Memorial Hospital for five years.
  Powers has served on the Informal Dispute Resolution Committee for the Tennessee Department of Health and on the Public Relations Committee for the District 5 Tennessee Health Care Association Administrators
Affiliation. She said the public perception of nursing homes was changing for the better as facilities sought to improve the quality of life for residents.
  "I think people have that preconceived idea that nursing homes are a bad place to go and we are getting away from that stigma," Powers said.
   Roan Highlands benefits from strong community support around Roan Mountain. Residents' families and local organizations contribute time and patience to make the center successful.
  "There is a lot of family and community involvement," said Powers.