THOMASVILLE, N.C. (WGHP) — Former employees told FOX8 on Wednesday about their experiences at the Pine Ridge Health and Rehabilitation Center.
On Sunday, two of the residents were found dead, and two are currently in critical condition.
At 7:56 p.m. on Sunday, police say they started getting calls that people could not reach staff by phone and some residents hadn’t seen staff at the facility.
When officers arrived, they determined that staffing was “inadequate” with one licensed practical nurse and two certified nursing assistants to care for the 98 patients at the site.
Officers called in Thomasville firefighters and Davidson County EMS to help check on all of the patients. Crews were on scene until 7:30 a.m. Monday.
At the scene, officials found two of the nursing home residents dead. Two others were in critical condition.
It’s unclear if the deaths were a result of neglect or natural causes. Police are waiting for the results of the autopsies.
On Sunday, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation was requested by the Thomasville Police Department and the Davidson County District Attorney to assist the TPD with an investigation into allegations of patient abuse at the Pine Ridge Health and Rehabilitation Center.
The investigation is ongoing.
Kaitlyn Hundley, a former CNA at the Pine Ridge Health and Rehabilitation Center, worked there in 2019 as her first job in healthcare.
She says employees who needed to take their time with a resident would get in trouble for not being quick enough.
“I cannot put myself through watching people treat residents like that,” she said. “People would grab them and hold them and leave bruises on their arms. They would force-feed people. They would not give them showers and baths.”
She urged people who visit their loved ones in nursing homes to spend time watching how the CNAs take care of the residents.
“You are more than welcome to be in the room when someone is helping your loved one,” Hundley said. “Don’t feel like you have to leave the room because behind that door is when a lot of stuff happens, and you’ll never know it.”
Nicole Williams, a former CNA at the Pine Ridge Health and Rehabilitation Center, worked there in 2017 and said she “would never want any of my family members there.”
“You had a lot of residents to one person. One night, in particular, I had 31 patients by myself,” Williams said. “The rooms were nasty. You could tell that a lot of them were left wet all the time. The people in the bed they tried not to get them up because it was too much work to put them back to bed when you’re short staffed.”
Williams asked people to take their loved ones’ complaints seriously when they visit.