The Eckerd Living Center (ELC) is an 80-bed facility, and one of only a handful of skilled nursing facilities in North Carolina that actively seeks to be accredited by the same rating agency that rates hospitals throughout the state, even though it is purely voluntary.

Each time ELC is rated, the facility excels in the scores given by The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. We are proud of this distinction that underscores our goal of providing for the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs of every resident in the most caring way possible.

We realize transitioning to a skilled nursing facility is a matter of great care and concern to the families of loved ones, so we strive to create an environment in which you can have trust, faith and assurance that only the best in care will be given to your family member.

We are physically attached to the Highlands-Cashiers Hospital, so that, emergency and acute care are just a few steps away. Each resident is assigned a primary care physician who recommends a plan of medical treatment, supervises diagnostic, as well as, therapeutic procedures, and personally prescribes required medications.

We use an interdisciplinary team approach to ensure that our administrator, physicians, nurse managers, social workers, dieticians, along with therapists and special consultants work together to provide the highest level of care for each member of our Living Center family. We urge that the residents’ family members participate in the active plan of care to assure that they continue to be an integral part of the care for their loved ones.

Eckerd Living Center accepts Medicare, Medicaid, and private payment; making all rooms competitively priced. The entire facility is secure, to provide a safe environment for wandering residents. Meals are served fine-dining style with your choice of two entrees, two vegetables, and two starches and a variety of desserts selected from our dessert cart. All diets are ‘liberalized’ to encourage weight maintenance and satisfaction.

Eckerd Living Center Quality Initiatives

  • Eckerd Living Center provides excellent staff to resident ratios.
  • Registered Nurses are scheduled for 12 hours per day, instead of the minimum requirement of 8 hours per day.
  • All staff are CPR certified. Medications are administered by Registered Nurses and Licensed Practical Nurses.
  • There is an in-house therapy department that treats residents up to 6 days a week.
  • Restaurant-style dining with meals and snacks supervised by an on-site Registered Dietician
  • Personal Laundry and linen service

Our Staff

Ava Emory, LNHA, RN-C

Ava Emory, LNHA, RN-C


Ava Emory is the Administrator at ELC.

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A native of Macon County, Ava Emory has more than 19 years of experience in long term care management at Eckerd Living Center at Highlands Cashiers Hospital in Highlands, NC. Ava is a North Carolina Licensed Nursing Home Administrator for Eckerd Living Center. Ms. Emory is a graduate of Western Carolina University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. Ava is also a licensed Assisted Living Administrator. She is a Nationally Certified Director of Nursing and a Certified Geriatric Nurse. Ms. Emory is a Leadership Highlands Board member. Ava also serves on Healthy Carolinians of Macon County. Ms. Emory is a member of Highlands Mountain Top Rotary and the American Nurses Association.

Emily Bowers, BS, RN

Emily Bowers, BS, RN

Director of Nursing

Emily Bowers is the Director of Nursing at ELC.

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In 2006, Emily joined the ELC family as a Nurse Aide II. In past 10 years she has served ELC and it’s residents as Charge Nurse, Director of Social Services, Activities Director, and RN Nurse Manager.

In September of 2015, Emily was promoted to Director of Nursing. She is responsible for all clinical operations, and making sure staff are providing the best possible care for our residents.

Laura Zoellner, MSW

Laura Zoellner, MSW

Social Worker

Laura Zoellner is our social worker at ELC.

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Laura Zoellner joined Eckerd Living Center in October 2015 as the Social Worker/Case Manager. Mrs. Zoellner graduated from Western Carolina University earning her Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in 2013. During this time, she worked as a Graduate Assistant, graduated summa cum laude, and earned the Dean’s “Over and Above Award,” presented to Laura for her assistance in planning the annual Counseling Supervision Symposium. She earned her Bachelors of Science in Psychology in 2009, graduating Magna Cum Laude, and earning the Cecil W. Mann Award, awarded to the outstanding senior psychology student who has demonstrated excellence in the classroom and in scholarly endeavors. Laura believes it’s an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to work with the residents who call Eckerd Living Center their home. It is her goal to ensure each resident’s rights are being honored and to provide the best quality of life for the residents. Mrs. Zoellner looks forward to serving as your patient advocate.
Stephanie Roberson Mallonee

Stephanie Roberson Mallonee

Director of Activities, LPN

Stephanie lives in Franklin, North Carolina. She has worked at Eckerd Living Center for 12 years.

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She began at her work with ELC as a Nursing Assistant, then in 2007 she graduated from Southwestern Community College as a Licensed Practical Nurse. When she was looking for a change of pace, Stephanie transitioned to the Activities Department in the role of Activity Director for Eckerd Living Center. Stephanie plans the activities and coordinates volunteers. She is currently studying to receive national certification in Activities through NCCAP (National Certification Council for Activity Professionals).