Daughter said mom had strokes undetected for 5 days
Another allegation of neglect of residents at Oakview Commons Assisted Living Facility in Four Oaks has come to light. This time it’s the daughter of a resident who says the facility was negligent and contributed significantly to her mother’s death.
Megan Wolfe says she took her mother, Lynda Parrish — who was 64 when she arrived — to the facility in February of last year. At the time she says her mother was in good health other than the Alzheimer’s Disease which had started to make living alone a near impossibility.
“She could walk and feed herself,” Mrs. Wolfe said. “She was even driving a car about a week before we took her there.”
Mrs. Wolfe’s husband, Dale, tried to put the situation into perspective.
“Think about it, you can drive and two weeks later you’re dead,” he said. “We take her in there she’s walking, talking to everybody and can feed herself.”
Mrs. Wolfe described her mother as just a simple, Christian lady who wanted nothing more than to enjoy her family. All of that changed when Mrs. Wolfe made the decision to entrust the care of her mother to Oakview Commons.
During a week-long stay from Feb. 9 to 14, Mrs. Wolfe says her mother’s health deteriorated to the point of near death.
“When I went back there (the emergency room) after they got her revived and everything they told me she wouldn’t have lasted another 30 minutes to an hour,” Mrs. Wolfe said. “They said for them to get the ventilator in (her mouth) they had to remove food from her mouth and cheeks.”
Lynda Parrish was admitted to Oakview Commons Assisted Living Facility in Four Oaks in February of 2015. Within a seven-day period Mrs. Parrish went from a healthy person in the early stages of Alzheimer’s to a near vegetative state. She passed away less than three weeks later.
Submitted Photos Neglect
Johnston Health in Smithfield ER personnel told Mrs. Wolfe no medical history had been provided by the staff at Oakview Commons.
“When I get to the hospital they (Oakview Commons) didn’t send any paperwork,” she said. “He’s like give me some history, all they sent was a contact paper. They didn’t send any history or anything.”
In addition, Mrs. Wolfe and her husband both report the facility misled them regarding the condition of Mrs. Wolfe’s mother and that they failed to recognize the signs of stroke. Staff at the facility insisted Mrs. Parrish had been overmedicated on tranquilizers after Mrs. Wolfe found her mother in a near vegetative state the day prior to her trip to the emergency room.
“They said (at the emergency room) they thought she had like two minor strokes, then a big one,” Mr. Wolfe said.
According to Mrs. Wolfe, doctors informed her the first stroke likely affected Mrs. Parrish earlier in the week — probably during her first 24 to 48 hours of being in Oakview Commons.
“He felt like she probably had the first stroke Tuesday,” Mrs. Wolfe said. “And he said she was probably having another small stroke then had a bigger one by the time I saw her on Friday.”
Other medical issues Mrs. Parrish suffered with according to ER doctors included reduced kidney function, severe dehydration, high sodium levels, high white blood cell count, pneumonia, possible right side paralysis and possible aspiration from force feeding.
She later suffered a collapsed right lung on two different occasions after other medical procedures were attempted.
“I think maybe the first day when they gave her medications they probably did give her a Xanax,” Mrs. Wolfe said. “I think that night when she laid down she probably had a little stroke. She was probably not herself when she woke up on Tuesday and she slowly deteriorated throughout the week.”
When the couple and other family members went to visit on two separate occasions on Feb. 13 they found Mrs. Parrish in what could only be best described as a vegetative state.
Early in the afternoon Mrs. Wolfe found her mother sitting, unattended in the facility’s TV room.
According to Mrs. Wolfe, her mother was sitting motionless in a wheelchair slumped to one side and nearly falling off unsecured, almost unrecognizable.
“I didn’t recognize her, her hair was matted to her head,” Mrs. Wolfe said. “We walk in and her hair was matted down and she was filthy. She didn’t have her glasses on. Her tail was so close to the edge of the chair I thought she was going to fall.”
The only explanation facility supervisory personnel could offer at the time was Mrs. Parrish had been given too much Xanax.
“They told me it takes time for her to adjust to medications and they had given her Xanax,” Mrs. Wolfe said. “They told me they might have given her too much.”
A subsequent visit by Mr. and Mrs. Wolfe later that day resulted in an even more disturbing discovery. They found her unattended in the facility dining room in much the same state as earlier.
“We go back up there and they tell me she’s in the dining room and she’s awake,” Mrs. Wolfe said. “Her boob is not in her bra, her bra is up around her neck. Her shirt’s up and her bra was barely hanging around her neck.
“She was slumped over in the chair and if you moved her mouth, food was still in her mouth.”
Mr. Wolfe then picked up Mrs. Parrish and carried her back to her bed. He described her as nonresponsive.
“She was like a vegetable,” he said. “When I picked her up she didn’t even tense up like most people do when you go to pick them up. She was as limp as could be.”
Mrs. Wolfe told The Daily Record she was beginning the process of taking her mother out of the facility when she was notified to go to the emergency room.
Two weeks after her admission to the hospital, Mrs. Parrish was transferred to SECU Hospice House in Smithfield where she passed away just five days after her 65th birthday.
“Putting her in there was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life,” Mrs. Wolfe said. “For this to happen, knowing that I signed the paperwork to put her in there, that’s something that’s going to haunt me for the rest of my life.”
In the immediate wake of her mother’s death, Mrs. Wolfe reached out to state officials at the Department of Health and Human Services. According to Mrs. Wolfe, after an initial report was filed, no other action was reported to her.
“I submitted the form online and submitted a written statement,” Mrs. Wolfe said. “After that I haven’t heard anything. It’s been over a year I haven’t heard anything from them.”
According to a media spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, no public records are currently available regarding Mrs. Parrish or any inquiry made on her on Mrs. Wolfe’s behalf.
Investigations of allegations against facilities such as Oakview Commons are not a matter of public record until the inquiry is completed. Then only in some circumstances the findings are public record.
“Only when the findings are in a summary form can they be released,” said Jim Jones, assistant director of the Office of Communications for NCDHHS. “Otherwise those records are confidential.”
The only complaint made available to The Daily Record was initiated prior to 2016 charging Oakview Commons of failing to provide appropriate supervision to a client to prevent falls.
According to a report received from DHHS, an unannounced visit was made to the facility on March 12, 2014. The investigation included a tour of the facility, record review, direct observation and interviews with staff and residents.
The charges were reported as unsubstantiated because of a lack of evidence and no further action was taken.
In the interim between the time of the events Mrs. Wolfe described and the present time, the facility has changed ownership. In 2015 at the time of Mrs. Parrish’s ordeal, it was owned and operated by Depaul Senior Living.
Recently it was taken over by Affinity Group.
Multiple attempts to reach officials from both companies were unsuccessful. Previously, Mark Spaur, regional director of operations at Depaul Senior Living, denied any claims of mistreatment, neglect or abuse at Oakview Commons.
Mr. Spaur was again given the opportunity to address each of Mrs. Wolfe’s concerns and no response was received.
Anyone who has concerns — especially anything that affects the health and/or safety of residents — are encouraged to contact the N.C. Division of Health Service Regulation.