Local News

Rest Home Management Denies Charges of Assault

Posted Updated

FOUR OAKS — July 25, 1996 - 5:05 p.m.EDT

Once again, questions are being raised about the quality of care at a local rest home.

As first reported by WRAL TV5 News, a home in Four Oaks is being investigated by the Johnston County Sheriff's Department and the Department of Social Services. This came after a woman accused an employee of physically assaulting her grandmother at the Oasis rest home. The employee was fired, but new allegations have surfaced.

After the story aired last week, WRAL got several calls from relatives of patients and from former employees, most of whom expressed concerns about what goes on at the Oasis rest homes.

Some said the Gyrtha Baker case is just one example of problems they have witnessed at the facilities.

Barbara Allen (pictured below, left) took photographs of her mother's bruised arms.

Allen says her mother was roughly handled by an employee at Oasis in august of 1995, and she says she brought her concerns to rest home management but got no help.

Then, after Deborah Frye made similar allegations last week about her grandmother's care at the same facility, Allen decided it was time to come forward.

Andrew Wheeler, a spokesperson for Oasis, says there is no cover-up. He says there are no witnesses to last week's alleged assault, that there is no evidence of an assault, and that all new employees go through a criminal background check.

The Johnston County Sheriff's Department and the Department of Social Services are investigating Frye's charge.

DSS keeps a record of all complaints against rest homes. According to their records, since 1992 there have been 7 complaints against Oasis in Four Oaks, three dealing with living conditions were partially substantiated, three others were not substantiated, and the most recent case remains under investigation.

The director of the North Carolina Group Care Licensing Division, James Upchurch (pictured, right) says none of the complaints against Oasis had anything to do with abuse or neglect of patients.

Oasis also has a facility in Benson which provides care for disabled adults. Certified Nursing Assistant, Marie Young (below, left) quit her job there in March because of concerns she had about the way the place was run. She says some employees were not qualified to administer medicine and often made mistakes.

Young also says it was not uncommon for staff members to have problems with residents, sometimes like the situation which allegedly happened at the Four Oaks facility last week.

Wheeler responded to these allegations.

"Disgruntled employees can always have problems with the way a facility is operated. I'm not making any comment on that," Wheeler said.

Walter Pierce, owner of Oasis faxed a letter to WRAL TV5 just before the story was to air. In it, he stated that the facility is licensed with the state and is in good standing based on routine investigations by DSS.

Pierce says anyone with questions concerning care should direct complaints to the home's administrator

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