Raleigh patient advocate reacts to senior fight club at NC nursing home

Wake County News

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WNCN) — Three nursing home employees are charged with creating a senior fight club. The residents they were supposed to be caring for, dementia patients, at the center of it. 

Marilyn McKey, Tonacia Tyson, and DeShawn Jordan are facing assault charges. 

Investigators confirm it happened at the Danby House, it’s an assisted living and memory care facility in Winston-Salem. 

“A lot of things gone wrong. Primarily its lack of accountability from the top down. I also see it as something as simple as bad employees making bad decisions,” Nancy Ruffner, a board-certified patient advocate and owner of Navigate NC. 

She said she’s familiar with the case.

“They didn’t deliver training. There were people promoted into positions that shouldn’t have been. It’s all online if you know where to dig,” Ruffner said.

Her claims verified by the state’s latest inspection report, which we obtained a copy of. 

It found numerous deficiencies in training and documentation. 

Police began investigating back in June when they say they received a tip about elder abuse. 

DHHS called in to help. 

The Danby House said the three suspects were terminated at that time. Danby House sent CBS 17 this statement:

“Danby House has a zero-tolerance policy for the mistreatment of those in our care and as such, McKey, Tyson, and Jordan were terminated immediately in June when community management was alerted to this situation. Administrators have been working closely with the Winston-Salem Police Department throughout its investigation to ensure justice is served.  Additional staff training and a more rigorous vetting process for all new and existing employees at Danby House has been implemented. Danby House has undergone leadership changes in recent months, and we look at situations like these as opportunities to improve upon the high standard of care we provide for our residents.”

The Danby House

Danby House is owned by Affinity Living LLC. According to their website, they’re the fourth largest provider of Alzheimer’s and memory care. 

“Most staff persons know which patients have eyes on them, whether its family or outsiders like myself. They can go in, be seen, have plan of care meetings. There’s a number of things and show up unannounced,” Ruffner said.

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