Castro Valley, CA- A probe into the closure of a Castor Valley nursing, which left over a dozen residents stranded in the unattended facility, found that California regulators “fell short” in their management of the closure.
Last fall, the Valley Springs Manor was ordered to close after numerous health violations, and what has been described as “deplorable conditions.” The home closed and over a dozen elderly resident’s lives were put in danger when owners and staff members abandoned them, leaving them to care for themselves. Only a few staff members, a maintenance person, a cook and one caretaker stayed behind without pay, to assure the elderly residents were cared for.
The remaining staff members repeatedly called 911 warning them the patients were in danger. When paramedic arrived, they called the Alameda County Sherriff’s office, which helped place the residents in temporary facilities.
Fortunately, none of the residents were harmed, but the Alameda Sherriff’s office said they were looking into whether the facility’s owner could be charged with elder abuse.
A statement released by the Department of Social Services, the state agency admitted to mismanaging the shutdown of the home and was not attentive to what was happening, according to the San Francisco Gate.
Prior to the shutdown order, Valley Springs Manor was cited for “numerous violations in the adequacy of care,” and the state was in the process of revoking their license. But the home remained open as the owner attempted to appeal.
Problems within the facility continued to persist and in mid-October the state agency ordered them to close, giving them several days to find homes for the residents.
“That judgment was in error,” the report concluded, adding, state employees should have taken over “to address the developing crisis and make appropriate arrangements to ensure the safety of remaining residents,” the report said. Failing that, the report stated Social Services “fell short of its mission to protect the health and safety of residents in Valley Springs Manor.”
As a result of this bungled closure, the agency said the state will find ways for other facilities to take over troubled homes in case residents are abandoned by facility operators. The state will also require licensing staffers to remain at a facility if the owners are uncooperative.
This is a step in the right direction for state regulators who have been heavily criticized for their inability to address deficiencies in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities throughout the state. A recent in-depth investigation found that many complaints against long-term care facilities were not thoroughly examined and many cases were closed without a thorough investigation.
It’s important for state agencies to address and investigate any claims about the poor quality of care a nursing home resident receives or any allegations of abuse. When agencies fail to do so, they put the health and safety of residents in jeopardy.