Woman alleges elder abuse at Collierville rehab center

COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. -- A soiled diaper and swollen lips are both part of elder abuse allegations against Poplar Oaks Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Collierville.

Sandra White says last week was one of the worst weeks her 76 year old mother-in-law Mary Lumley has been through.  White says Lumley was sent to the center November 5th to recover from a double pneumonia, but claims the care was awful.

"Only thing on their mind is making money. They abuse those people. They treat them badly," White says.

White says she and her family visited Lumley twice last weekend. She says the first visit was Saturday, when they allegedly found Lumley's lips dry and swollen because staff wouldn't give her water.

"We got there. She was asking for water. Her lips were parched and everything," White says.

White claims a nurse yelled at Lumley, telling her she couldn't take anything by mouth. White says staff finally brought ointment after she complained.

"The care there that day was pretty pitiful," White says.

White says Sunday's visit was worse, when her family allegedly found Lumley sitting in a soiled diaper that hadn't been changed from the night before, even though Lumley had repeatedly asked.

"When we entered the room, you could smell the heavy smell of urine," White says.

White says she complained again and things got heated.

"So, they finally changed her, but in the process, they called the police and had my son and I removed from the floor," White says.

White says she pulled Lumley out of the center that day. Collierville police say they're looking into White's allegations.

We went to Poplar Oaks to ask about the allegations ourselves, but were told to call it's parent company, Orianna Health Systems.

After the story aired Thursday, WREG received the following statement:

"Poplar Oaks Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center denies any and all allegations of abuse and neglect and other events that were erroneously reported by Channel 3 yesterday.  Poplar Oaks takes all resident concerns and grievances very seriously. All complaints are thoroughly investigated until an acceptable resolution is achieved.  Poplar Oaks continues to provide quality care to its residents in a safe and compassionate manner using skilled, professional, and dedicated Nursing staff and support personnel."

Federal records show the center had 17 health deficiencies during an inspection back in March. The state average is about five.

As for White, she has this warning for people with parents in facilities like Poplar Oaks

"They really need to check their parents, because you never know what's going to happen," she says.

For now, Lumley is being cared for at Baptist East.