Options Counseling

What is Options Counseling?


Option Counseling is an interactive decision-support process where individuals, family members and/or significant others are supported in their deliberations to determine appropriate long-term care choices in the context of the individual’s needs, preferences, values, and circumstances. Options Counseling is available to individuals who:


  • Do not know how to access long term services and supports

  • Request transition assistance from one living setting to another

  • Lack awareness of existing community resources and supports

  • Are referred to the counselor by a hospital, nursing home, assisted living, community-based service provider or other agency


Options Counseling is a free service. Individuals may access Options Counseling through self-referral.



Local Contact Agency


The Local Contact Agency (LCA) program is an effort to educate residents in skilled nursing facilities about their options to transition out of the facility and return to community living. 


How can the LCA Program help if someone is interested in transitioning from a Nursing Home back to the Community? 

A certified Options Counselor will visit the facility to discuss some of the services and supports you will need in order to return to the community. There is no cost for this service and anything that you discuss with the options counselor is confidential. 


Returning to the community may not be possible for everyone, as some individuals will continue to require the services provided by the nursing facility. However, it is possible for others to return to their own home or in a new living arrangement if they have the services and support they need to function independently. 


Every nursing home resident has the right to explore their options and to be involved in planning for the services and care they many need.



How the LCA Program Works



During a resident’s stay in a skilled nursing facility, an assessment of their needs and required care must be completed by the facility. During the assessment the social worker will ask the resident the resident this question: “Do you want to talk to someone about the possibility of leaving this facility and returning to live and receive services in the community?” If the resident answers “yes,” the social worker will make a referral to a call center that works with the LCA. 



Once the call center (1.866.271.4894) receives the referral, a trained staff member will forward the referral to the Local Contact Agency (LCA) in your area. The LCA Options Counselor will then schedule a personal visit with the resident, family member, or responsible parties to explore the options available to the resident. 



During the visit to the nursing facility, the LCA Options Counselor will assist the resident with identifying their needs and discharge options, if appropriate. The LCA also provides information and education on community resources to better assist with discharge into the community. 


What Happens after the Visit? 

If a course of action is recommended, the facility takes the lead in working with the resident to determine whether transition is feasible and to coordinate the services needed for a successful return to the community. 

For more
information contact:

Anita Roberts

Aging Specialist




To Make A Referral Call:


Navigate Services

Resource Directory for Older Adults

Resource Directory for Older Adults

The Western Piedmont Council of Governments shall serve all local government members in Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba Counties with professional, cost-effective assistance on a variety of local, regional, state and federal issues and programs.

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Telephone: ​828.322.9191

Fax: 828.322.5991

Email: jason.toney@wpcog.org
Mailing: P.O. Box 9026 | Hickory, NC 28603
Location: 1880 2nd Avenue NW
Hickory, NC 28601

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This institution does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age or disability in employment or the provision of services. Auxiliary aids and services for individuals with disabilities are available upon request. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.