Caldwell County nursing home residents evacuated after violations found

CALDWELL COUNTY, N.C. — The Department of Health and Human Services issued the Carolina Oaks Enhanced Care Center a suspension of admission following a visit in early June.

For many of its residents, Carolina Oaks is the only home they have known since being placed at the Lenoir facility.

A large portion of the assisted living center, once known as the old Caldwell Memorial Hospital, is in need of repair.

"It's really bad. It's so deteriorated. The floors are rocking when you walk on them," one resident said.

"They haven't told me anything. I asked them when I was going to get to go home, and they said they couldn't tell me," resident Annie Jeffcoat said.

DHHS found several violations during the June 6 visit, including conditions that presented an imminent danger to the health, safety, and welfare of the residents.

Workers said when the administrator showed up this weekend, he announced the closure and hasn't been back since.

"He abandoned [us], just quit us. We're finding placement for the residents and everything. We're out of a job," Activity Director Roseshell Morrow said.

"We, as employees here at Carolina Oaks, we gave our all.  Every single last one of us, as employees, we did our best each and every day," employee Victory Harshaw said.

Family members said they could see chipped paint and leaky faucets in the aging facility.

They don't fault the more than two dozen employees who cared for their loved ones.

"All of the nurses in here are very upset because the people here are like family to us," employee Tabitha West said.

The assisted living center is supposed to be closed by 5 p.m. on Thursday.

Some residents moved out Wednesday, but Channel 9 found that the facility won't actually shut down until Department of Social Services finds each resident a new home.

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