One Family Supports Oakview Commons

Daughter says mother treated excellent

Amid allegations of neglect and abuse of patients, the family member of one resident of Oakview Commons tells a different story.

Denise Austin talks of a facility that offers excellent care and is a far cry from the nightmarish stories that have recently come to light.

Her mother, Janice Woodall, has been in the memory care unit for around four years. During her stay, Mrs. Austin says the care has always been better than expected. She told The Daily Record that after reading a previous story suggesting neglect, she had to tell her side of the story.

“We’ve experienced nothing but wonderful care for her,” she said. “My dad goes at least three or four times a week, and we go whenever we can. Even when my sister and I go, the staff there act like they love those people to death — they’re just so nice to them.”

Her feelings are a stark contrast from those previously expressed by family members and former employees of the Four Oaks assisted living facility.

“I know they’ve had some turnover issues, my dad has talked about that,” said Mrs. Austin, who lives in Raleigh. “But for the most part, I’ve seen nothing but care.”

Mrs. Austin cites a recent time when she arrived at the facility unexpected to take her mother for an outside visit.

“They scurried around as quickly as they could to help us get her ready to go,” Mrs. Austin said. “We had to change her clothes and take care of some other personal issues with her.

“It amazes me at the things they do for these patients.”

One of the shocking claims made by family members came regarding treatment of the patients while they were in the dining room.

Claims of patients being left sitting in the room unattended and food being shoved in their mouths have been made. But, Mrs. Austin refutes those claims and says, in the case of her mother, everything is fine.

“I’ve sat with my mother in the dining room,” Mrs. Austin said. “They have their staff come and sit with the patients that need a little extra help with their meals.”

She says often after meals things are at a much slower pace, but not in an inappropriate manner. Instead, she says what’s done is for the comfort of the residents.

“Even after the meals are over in the afternoon it’s very quiet because a lot of the residents may be napping or doing whatever,” Mrs. Austin said. “And I don’t see anything that causes me any kind of alarm there.”

Another area of concern that has arisen comes in the handling of resident’s personal belongings. Mrs. Austin says the past claims of clothing and other items being lost or misplaced are somewhat true, but also understandable.

“They don’t pay a lot of attention because they try to keep the residents clean and clothed,” she said. “So sometimes Mother may have on clothes that don’t belong to her.”

Mrs. Austin says the loudest complaint about her mother’s clothing comes from her father. When he brings the issue to light she has what she considers to be a fair response.

“I’m like, ‘Daddy is she clean?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Are her clothes clean?’ ‘Yes.’ Then why do you care?” Mrs. Austin said. “She’s clean, her clothes are clean and I honestly don’t care whose clothes she’s got on as long as they’re clean.”

Mrs. Austin and her family even put a humorous moniker on the situation.

“We call it the community clothes closet,” she said. “I don’t have a bit of problem with that.”

When asked if any of the residents appear to be neglected or abused during her visits to her mother, Mrs. Austin says no.

“All of these patients looked like they’re well cared for,” she said. “I haven’t seen any of them that look like they’ve been neglected.”

Mrs. Austin says she has seen firsthand bad care at other facilities and insists that Oakview Commons is not one of them.

“I’ve been in facilities that roll their patients outside and leave them there to sit in their own waste,” she said. “That is not what happens at Oakview Commons — my experience is that they receive very, very good care there.”

She offers some friendly advice to anyone who might be in a similar situation with a parent or loved one. She says first and foremost take the time to choose wisely.

“I think the important thing here is when you’re looking for a facility is to do your homework,” she said. “I mean you have to do all the research and you have to read.”

Mrs. Austin admits there are probably things that could be improved. But at the same time she refutes any reports of poor treatment of residents.

“It’s not a five-star facility,” she said. “Most of the patients there probably are on assistance, my mother’s on assistance. But they get the same kind of care regardless of how they’re paying for it.”

As for staff not paying attention to the daily goings on at the facility because of staff turmoil or other factors, Mrs. Austin says it’s something she hasn’t seen personally.

“They’re watching out and they’re doing a great job,” she said.

Mrs. Austin adds that while she understands how someone who feels their family member or loved one has been treated improperly, she also stands by what she believes to be true.

“I’m sorry that these people have had those experiences,” she said. “They don’t speak for us.”  Story courtesy The Daily Record