CASTRO VALLEY, Calif. — Detectives are investigating an assisted living facility in the San Francisco Bay Area that closed last week and left behind 14 sick and elderly patients, a spokesman for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office said.
Paramedics called to the Valley Springs Manor Residential Care center in Castro Valley found a notice on the door from the state Department of Social Services ordering the site to be closed.
The San Francisco Chronicle and other media outlets reported that paramedics also found bedridden patients attended by a handful of staff members who stayed to help them, despite not being paid. The facility closed Thursday.
Sheriff’s Sgt. J.D. Nelson said the staff members who stayed included a cook, janitor and a single caretaker who felt bad for the patients.
Nelson said an investigation could potentially result in elder abuse charges.
The patients were transported to other homes Saturday for temporary care while new places are found for them.
Officials say numerous violations had been found at a California assisted living site that left 14 sick and elderly patients behind last week after it was shut down by the state.
The state Department of Social Services told the Contra Costa Times in a story Sunday that one patient who was not supposed to be let outside went missing twice in October before Valley Springs Manor in Castro Valley was shuttered.
The department also alleges the facility failed to hand out medications correctly and conduct proper criminal background checks of employees.
The state suspended Valley Springs’ license last week.
The facility came to the attention of law enforcement that day after paramedics responding to an emergency call found a small staff struggling to care for the residents, Nelson said.
Michael Weston, a spokesman for the California Department of Social Services, told KPIX-TV that social service officials had checked on the facility and were told the patients would be cared for over the weekend.
“I can tell you that the department has been engaged with this facility for quite a while and there is a history of concerns,” Weston said. “Apparently, what happened is that the facility staff felt that they were starting to lose the capability to care for these individuals, so they called for help.”