2 dead at Thomasville nursing home during winter storm
Police said just three staff members were caring for 98 residents at the Pine Ridge Health and Rehabilitation Center when officers arrived and found two residents dead.
THOMASVILLE, NC – Tragedy at a Triad nursing home. Thomasville police say they found two people dead at an understaffed facility during the winter storm on Sunday.
Police said just three staff members were caring for 98 residents at the Pine Ridge Health and Rehabilitation Center when they conducted a wellness check at the facility. Two residents were found dead and two others were taken to area hospitals. On Thursday, investigators said a patient is expected to be discharged and will go to another assisted living facility. They said the other patient remains in critical condition in intensive care.
Davidson County District Attorney Gary Frank told WFMY News 2’s Grace Holland on Wednesday that he was assisting in the investigation and that it is too early to say if there will be charges.
The state health department said its Health Services Regulatory Division, which oversees nursing homes, is conducting its own investigation into whether Pine Ridge is complying with the requirements.
Police said weather and road conditions contributed to the understaffing that night.
“Obviously weather and road conditions contributed to the understaffing issues at this facility,” said Thomasville Police Capt. Brad Saintsing. “We want to ensure that every resident of the facility receives the quality of care they deserve. With these types of facilities there is a protocol and we want to ensure it has been followed in regards to weather conditions and/or emergencies.
Police said an ‘abundance’ of first responders tended to residents from evening to morning as they investigated.
WFMY News 2’s Grace Holland spoke to a woman whose 95-year-old great-grandmother lives there. She told him that this wasn’t the first time there had been a staffing issue at Pine Ridge Health and Rehabilitation Center.
“I called her and she was like, ‘Savanna, there are cops all over this place.’ I was like, ‘What do you mean?’ She was like, ‘They’re taking care of us, they’re controlling us,’ and that kind of raised my suspicions about what was going on,” Savanna Barrett said.
The State Bureau of Investigation is also working on the case.
Barrett said he has noticed changes since the investigation began on Sunday.
“I came here yesterday. This place was full of employees. Weird, because it’s never like that, to be honest,” she said.
State records show dozens of complaints at the facility over the years. Some were unfounded during the inspection, but others were corrected.
Medicare.gov also shows that the facility has received three federal fines in the past three years. One was worth over $100,000 in 2018.
The site did not explain why the establishment was fined, but said they may stem from serious health or fire safety citations or failure to correct a citation.
Barrett hopes to see care and staffing improve.
“We will see what happens when the news goes away and the SBI goes away. Will it stay like this? I do not know. I hope that will be the case,” she said.
She said her great-grandmother didn’t want to leave the facility, so Barrett has no plans to move her.
“I’m grateful that my grandmother is able to do it on her own, but those residents who can’t do it on their own are the ones I was worried about,” Barrett said.
WFMY News 2’s Grace Holland called Pine Ridge about the investigation. An administrator had no comment.
We are still awaiting a response from Principle LTC, the company that owns the facility. Principle LTC operates 56 care centers in North Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky.
If you have any information, call Crime Stoppers at (336) 476-8477.