Beaufort News

DHEC probe of nursing home death doesn’t include company’s Port Royal location

Helena Place in Port Royal.
Helena Place in Port Royal.

A Port Royal assisted living home is not connected to a South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control investigation at a James Island facility under the same ownership.

DHEC recently opened in inquiry into Savannah Place on James Island after a resident with dementia left the senior living facility and was found dead in a marsh in May, The Charleston Post and Courier reported this week. The probe found several violations at the Charleston County senior living home, including inoperable door alarms and under-staffing, according to the newspaper.

Savannah Place is owned by Chicago-based senior living company Enlivant, which has facilities in 18 states, including 10 in South Carolina. One of them is Helena Place, formerly called Helena House, in Port Royal.

A DHEC spokesman, Jim Beasley, said Monday there are no active investigations at Helena Place.

The agency’s most recent investigation at the home took place in September 2015, when it received two separate complaints about bedbugs and carpet mold. DHEC did not observe any of the pests or mold during an unannounced visit and recorded that, while one resident did have bedbugs, the facility treated several rooms and eradicated them.

DHEC took note of an August pest control inspection, which stated there were no signs of bedbugs.

Helena Place had experienced two other complaints during 2015, but DHEC did not observe the allegations when it made unannounced visits to investigate.

Neither Savannah Place nor Helena Place have a memory care wing for patients with dementia.

The 16-year-old facility has the capacity for 44 assisted living residents.

Attempts to reach the director of Helena Place and an Enlivant representative were unsuccessful Monday.

Rebecca Lurye: 843-706-8155, @IPBG_Rebecca