State, county scrutiny fall on adult care facility
Posted September 9, 2009 5:22 p.m. EDT
Updated September 9, 2009 9:41 p.m. EDT
Angier, N.C. — Two Silver Alerts in seven months have state inspectors looking more closely at a Harnett County retirement home.
The disappearance of Annie Langley, 62, Monday was the second incident in a year at Primrose Villa Retirement Community, 431 Junny Road in Angier.
Resident Carrie C. Evans wandered away in February. Evans fell into a ravine a few blocks from the retirement home, and she died of a severe head injury, according to an autopsy report. Police said there was no evidence of foul play.
Langley was found safe Tuesday, after a search that involved multiple agencies, hundreds of people and more than 24 hours.
“Anytime somebody goes missing from one of our facilities licensed by the state, that's something that causes us great concern,” said Megan Lamphere of the Division of Health Service Regulation in the state Department of Health and Human Services.
After Evans’ death, the agency found that Primrose Villa lacked adequate door alarms. A follow-up inspection showed the problem had been fixed.
Staff members told state inspectors they knew Evans was a "wanderer." Lamphere said the presence of even one resident who is known to wander would have required the home to have working door alarms.
A woman residents identified as the administrator kept quiet.
Pat Cameron, director of the Harnett County Department of Social Services, said he is concerned. "The fact that we had two residents has sent up red flags. We are investigating closely,” he said.
Cameron said Primrose Villa, which is inspected annually, has not had a high number of complaints or violations.
"We take every complain we receive very seriously," Cameron said.
Primrose Villa has three residence halls. State regulators look at each as an individual facility, with a separate inspection rating.
"We are concerned that, if you have a problem at one facility, you may very likely have an issue at an adjoining facility," Cameron said. "But right now, it would take a legislative change to remedy that."
The building where Annie Langley lives earned three stars out of four from the state DHS Adult Care Licensure Section. The one where Carrie Evans lived has not been rated.
The ratings are based on inspections performed by state and couty authorities -- either annual inspections or those that that result from complaints, Lamphere explained.
“We are in there now doing a full inspection of every Primrose facility,” she said Wednesday.
Primrose Villa is not a nursing home and is not required to have around-the-clock nursing staff. It is registered with the state as and adult home, or an assisted-living facility. Those types of residences give people who live there freedom to come and go.
If an assisted-living facility like Primrose accepts residents with dementia, they are required to ensure proper supervision and safety, Lamphere said.