A Charlotte adult-care center that has been ordered to close today has a history of violence and drug abuse, according to residents and an independent ombudsman.
“If they'd have got them drug addicts out of here, everything would have been OK,” said Bertram King, 61, who has lived at Charlotte Manor for a year and a half and was awaiting transfer Thursday.
The center, on McArthur Avenue in northwest Charlotte, has had problems for some time, said Debi Lee, lead ombudsman for the Centralina Area Agency on Aging. That's partly because it mixes people of different ages and with varying medical and social disabilities, she said.
In addition to elderly and frail residents, the home accepts people under 50, including some who have gotten out of jail or have a history of homelessness or drug abuse, Lee said. “That has been a real challenge.”
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King said some residents have been found smoking crack.
Paulette Pryor, a six-year resident, said two men recently got into a fight. One suffered a black eye and a broken jaw, and the other went to jail, she said. In addition, she said, “somebody flattened the four tires on the van.”
In a parking lot near the home, a van with “Raeford Manor” printed on the side had four flat tires. Raeford Manor in Raeford – about 20 miles west of Fayetteville – is owned by the same company that owns Charlotte Manor.
Janet Pierce, administrator for both homes, referred questions to her employers, who she said would make a statement later. She said they were on their way to Charlotte from Florida, where their company is headquartered. State records list the home's owners as Maria and Peria Williams.
Most of Charlotte Manor's 31 residents were moved to other homes Thursday, a day after state officials suspended the home's license. Five remaining residents must be transferred by 5 p.m. today. Most of the residents are low income, and the government covers the cost of their care.
What precipitated the suspension isn't clear because state officials said they cannot release findings from a Sept. 18 inspection until they get confirmation that the owners received it in the mail. A state official said that would probably be early next week.
The suspension order, issued Wednesday by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, said inspectors “found evidence of neglect and failure to protect residents from potential harm.” It said residents were in “imminent danger” and that “emergency action is required.”
At the home Thursday, a few residents sat in wheelchairs or walked in the front yard of the single-story brick building, waiting for transportation to other homes. Case managers from the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services, which inspected the home every other month, were assisting with the relocation.
Employees from Charlotte Manor carried plastic bags of residents' belongings to waiting vans.
Charlotte Manor has had no significant penalties from the state in recent years. But inspection reports from 2007 and 2006 show the home had repeated problems with administering medicines and providing proper meals for residents with high blood pressure and diabetes.
Past inspection reports show that many of the residents have multiple medical problems, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, mental retardation, HIV, blindness, diabetes and heart disease.
The building of 9,000 square feet, built in 1961, is also a source of problems, Lee said.
Instead of having one bathroom for two to four people, Charlotte Manor has “a couple of common showers and bathrooms that are shared by as many as 15 residents,” she said. Maintenance is often delayed because the home doesn't receive timely payments from residents coming out of jail and waiting for disability checks.
Lee said her agency does not refer people to Charlotte Manor. To fill up, she said, “they take folks that would typically not be considered assisted living residents.”
But those residents also need a place to live where they can get care. “It has met a very unique need in our community,” she said.
State officials recently suspended a Cleveland County adult-care home after concluding that conditions, including improper supervision of residents, put them in imminent danger.
The family of Mouy Tang has offered a $15,000 reward for information leading to the location and safe return of the 46-year-old woman, who disappeared Sept. 3 from Unique Living in Fallston. Tang has schizophrenia and depends on insulin to control diabetes.