AL facility shuts its doors, leaving some residents behind

Valley Manor Community Care Center (assisted living) in Alameda County, California was closed by the Department of Social Services October 28, 2013, according to an article. Representatives from the state’s Department of Social Services were at the facility that day and were aware that at least 14 residents were still in the facility, but they left anyway.

When staff was told they would not be paid, they left. Two staff members (a cook and a janitor) stayed behind to look after residents. There were dwindling supplies including adult diapers, and little food. The cook and janitor did not want to leave the residents alone. So they stayed and cared for them as best they could until one was so exhausted his knees were buckling.

There was no nurse to dispense medications.

When the men who remained became overwhelmed, they called 911. Finally, the 14 remaining residents were transported by ambulance to emergency rooms and then transitioned to other care centers.

After the 911 rescue, a man whose parents were left behind got a call from his mother saying she and his father were transferred to a local emergency room, where they stayed until they were placed at another facility.

This couple is in their early 60s. They lived in Pennsylvania until they needed assistance.Their son moved them to his California home. As their care needs increased, he moved them to a nearby apartment where they had the services of an aide, visiting nurse and a physical therapist.

Finally, he looked for an assisted living center that could meet their needs. Valley Manor Care Center was what his parents could afford. The son felt the facility was all right. But his wife who has worked as a nurse aide did not. However, with few other choices, they hoped it would work out.

Governor Jerry Brown said that clearly something went wrong, and after the situation is investigated he will take the proper action.

The Sheriff's department will file criminal charges against the owners of the facility and others responsible for the incident.

A resident’s point of view: In my many years in nursing homes I have lived through broken water mains, power outages (one that lasted 47 hours) severe thunderstorms, tornado warnings and extremely short staffing due to weather emergencies. By the grace of God and administrators working diligently, we residents were cared for during these challenging situations.

This story unfortunately validated my worst fear—residents left with inadequate staff. If I had been in that facility, I would have called 911 immediately and explained the situation in detail. Then, I would have called my family and friends.

If the authorities did not respond quickly enough, I would have called state agencies and the media to make the community aware that residents needed help.

Topics: Facility management , Leadership , Risk Management , Staffing