WRAL Investigates

State substantiates claims of abuse at Raleigh nursing home

State inspectors have substantiated allegations of abuse at a north Raleigh nursing home where a woman secretly recorded staffers mistreating her father.

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Sloane Heffernan
, WRAL reporter, & Matthew Burns, WRAL.com senior producer/politics editor
RALEIGH, N.C. — State inspectors have substantiated allegations of abuse at a north Raleigh nursing home where a woman secretly recorded staffers mistreating her father.
Rebecca Knapton said she set up a hidden camera in her father's room at Universal Healthcare North Raleigh, at 5201 Clarks Fork Drive, after he insisted he wasn't receiving good care.

Richard Johnson, 68, is recovering from a stroke, and video from the hidden camera shows that he fell out of his bed early on April 10. It took more than an hour for staff to respond, and they berated him when they did.

"You were on the bed. You decided to go on the floor, so don’t complain that it’s cold," a staff member says.

"How old are you? You’re supposed to be enjoying your retirement. Instead, look what you are doing, pooping on yourself. Shame on you," a staff member says.

Inspectors from the state Division of Health Service Regulation visited Universal Healthcare April 10-15 and, after reviewing records and interviewing staff and residents, determined there was evidence to substantiate residents were abused or neglected, their rights and grievances were ignored and families weren't notified of falls or injuries, among other deficiencies, according to documents sent to Knapton.

Universal Health officials has said that the staffers who mistreated Johnson have been fired, and the rest of the staff has received additional training.

"The behavior of these two employees was completely unacceptable, not just by professional standards, but by basic standards of human decency," Alan Beaver, chief operations officer for Choice Health Management Services, which owns the nursing home, said in ""a href="document-1"}}a letter to employees Tuesday{{/a}}.

"We have no greater responsibility than the care and safety of those who are entrusted to us," Beaver wrote. "All of our patients deserve to live in a healthy, respectful and compassionate environment that is supportive of all aspects of wellness, including individual medical, rehabilitative and emotional needs."

DHSR records show a history of similar problems at the Raleigh nursing home. A report from last October, for example, notes staffers not answering residents' call buttons in a timely manner, residents being allowed to sit in urine or feces, inadequate staffing and a failure to respond to grievances filed by residents and their families.

After each inspection, the facility, which has two stars on the state's five-star scale, promised to fix the problems but clearly didn't.

"The continued failure of the facility during three consecutive federal surveys … shows a pattern of the facility's inability to sustain an effective Quality Assurance Program," regulators wrote last fall.


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