Internet Explorer no longer supports some features of our website. For best results, use Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.
Be a good visitor during flu season

Be a good visitor during flu season

The flu season began October 1 and runs through May. As a visitor to our facilities, you play an important part in preserving the health and safety of patients.

The following precautions can protect our patients, as well as visitors, from the spread of infection.


Clean your hands before and after visiting

Scientists of America showed in their persuasive essay outline that cleaning hands and doing well with hygiene can positively influence on the health

The soap, water and hand sanitizer in the patient rooms are for everyone. Wash or sanitize your hands when entering and leaving the room of the person you are visiting to avoid bringing in and carrying out germs. Insist any healthcare provider do the same before caring for your loved one. Do not sit on patient beds or handle their equipment.


Check with nurses before you bring in food, send flowers or bring children

While flowers, young visitors and home-baked dishes spread cheer, they may not be allowed, so check with the nurse first. Cut flowers but not potted plants may be allowed in intensive care units. If you change the water in a vase of flowers, make sure to wash your hands afterwards. No children under the age of 12 can visit in the Intensive Care Unit. Children elsewhere in the hospital should not disturb the other patients. Bringing food is risky because the patient may be on a special diet or the food could spoil and make the patient sick. Half eaten food cannot be returned to the refrigerator and must be discarded.


Practice Cough Etiquette

Do not cough or sneeze into your hands. Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue. Discard tissue in the trash immediately after use. Wash your hands or use an alcohol hand sanitizer.


Isolation Precautions: Read & follow any instructions posted outside the door

  • Contact Precautions: you must wear gloves and a gown when entering the room.
  • Droplet or Airborne Precautions: you must wear a mask when entering the room.

If the patient you visit has a sign on the door you are required to obey it. Please talk to the nurses if you need assistance. Although you may have been around this person or live with this person, we must protect the other hospital patients and visitors. You can ask the nurse for any educational materials that may be available.


Stay at home if you are sick

Do not visit the hospital if you are sick or have had any ill symptoms within the last three days including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, rash or uncontrolled cough.



Our Commitment to Excellence

Our Commitment to Excellence

Our goal is to ensure that you receive the kind of care we would want for our loved ones. We are committed to listening to our patients and caregivers – you – and responding quickly and compassionately to resolve concerns.

If you have concerns about the quality of care that you or a family member are receiving:

  • Speak with your nurse or nursing supervisor to make them aware of the issue
  • If you feel that your issue wasn’t resolved, please call the quality department at (828) 262-4239 or contact us online

Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval     Commission on Cancer Accredited Program    Patient Centered Medical Home     American-Hospital-Association-logo



  • Studer Excellence in Patient Care Award
  • Joint Commission National Quality Approval

Watauga Medical Center

  • The Joint Commission Primary Stroke Center
  • CMS 5-star rating for quality
  • Premier, Inc. QUEST award for high-value healthcare

Baker Center for Primary Care
Elk River Medical Associates 

  • NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home

Ethics Committee

All ARHS facilities have an ethics committee available to give you support and guidance when you are faced with difficult decisions about medical care and treatment issues. These committees do not tell you what you should do, but help affected parties look together at a larger situation and consider all feasible alternatives. Below is a list of how to contact the ethics committee and your location:

Charles A. Cannon, Jr. Memorial Hospital
(828) 737-7596 – request to speak with a social worker

Watauga Medical Center
(828) 262-4100 – request pager number 1400

Resolution of Conflicts

Although conflicts are often a part of life, they can add to the stress you feel when you or a loved one is hospitalized.

We work to meet and exceed your expectations, but at times we may fall short. An important value at ARHS is receiving, responding to and resolving all complaints quickly and compassionately. Your feedback helps us to improve our care.


  • If you have a complaint, you may speak with any facility employee or volunteer, and he or she will initiate the complaint process.
  • You may contact your nurse or the VP of Patient Care Services if you have concerns you feel are not being addressed.

In addition to these resolution steps, you have the right to file a complaint or concern with either or both:

The NC Division of Health Service Regulation
Complaint Intake Unit
2711 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-22711
Office of Quality and Patient Safety
The Joint Commission
One Renaissance Boulevard
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181

We want to hear from you

You matter! Our patients are our highest priority and our goal is to provide excellent patient care at all of our facilities. Please take a few moments to tell us how we're doing, or ask a question.

Telestroke Technology Available at ARHS

Telestroke Technology Available at ARHS

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center has partnered with Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) to provide Telestroke services at Watauga Medical Center and Cannon Memorial Hospital.

The Wake Forest Baptist Telestroke Network serves in approximately 24 counties in western North Carolina and southern Virginia. Its goal is to assist community hospitals in their efforts to prevent death and reduce disability caused by strokes. By collaborating with the Telestroke Network, ARHS now has access to 24/7 acute stroke experts via two-way real time video consultation. Thanks to this network, emergency room physicians are able to receive on demand consultation to help diagnose strokes, develop care plans and take action if necessary.

What the patient can expect

telestroke-articleThe majority of stroke patients enter the hospital through the emergency department where they are treated by a team of skilled nurses and physicians. Thanks to Telestroke technology, a robot known as RP-Lite® has joined the care team. The technologically advanced robot allows stroke expert physicians, located in the Wake Forest Baptist Stroke Center, to have remote access via two-way live video and audio capability with patients and the medical team at Watauga Medical Center and Cannon Memorial Hospital. In addition, the stroke experts at Wake Forest Baptist have access to the patient’s medical records and diagnostic test results.

“The RP-Lite allows the Wake Forest Baptist stroke physicians to interact directly with patients, family members and hospital staff just as if they are standing at the bedside,” said Debbie Shook, Stroke Coordinator at ARHS. “Think of stroke as a brain attack – it is an emergency and every minute counts. Traditionally, the hospital would have to call in a neurologist to evaluate the patient which took time. Now, thanks to Telestroke, stroke patients can receive treatment much faster.”

Warning signs and symptoms of stroke include:

  • Sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg, usually on one side of the body.
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding language.
  • Decreased or blurred vision in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden, severe headaches.
  • Unexplained loss of balance or dizziness.

If you or someone around you notice one or more of these warning signs, seek immediate medical attention – Call 911.

Watauga Medical Center has earned and maintained The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for certification as a Primary Stroke Center since 2011.

To learn more about The Stroke Center or Appalachian Regional Healthcare System visit