CASTRO VALLEY, Calif. (AP) — Owners of an assisted living facility that had its license suspended last week were given permission by the state to keep operating as patients were relocated, but concerns about care led workers to call 911 for help over the weekend, a state official said Monday.
Authorities were called to the Valley Springs Manor Community Care Center in Castro Valley on Saturday after three staffers determined they could not take care of the patients, California Department of Social Services spokesman Michael Weston said.
"There was always staff at the facility, but the staff there felt that the needs of the residents exceeded their capacity," Weston said. "Obviously something went wrong and we're looking into that right now."
Alameda County Sheriff' Sgt. J.D. Nelson has said the 14 patients were being cared for by three unpaid staff members — a caregiver, cook and janitor — when authorities arrived on Saturday. An investigation by the department was continuing into possible elder abuse.
State officials said numerous violations at the site had prompted the closure. One patient who was not supposed to be let outside allegedly went missing for two days, according to a license revocation complaint filed by the state social services department.
The agency also alleges the facility failed to hand out medications correctly and to conduct proper criminal background checks of employees. The complaint also mentioned a general lack of training among staff members and the facility being dirty and in disrepair.
"There had been a long history regarding a lack of compliance and the department reached a point where it began action to revoke the license," Weston said. "The intention of the department is revoke the license and close the facility for good."
Weston said the state had allowed the facility's operators, Herminigilda "Hilda" N. Manuel and Mary Julleah N. Manuel, to keep it open over the weekend despite the closure order so new housing could be found for the residents.
After authorities arrived, the bedridden patients were transported by ambulance to other care centers or a hospital. None of the patients suffered additional health problems, Weston said. Attorney Orrin Grover, who represents the owner of the facility, told KTVU-TV that patients left at the facility had not been abandoned.
"When we received word of the temporary suspension order we began transferring residents," Grover said. "We transferred approximately 10 residents through and including Friday." The lawyer did not immediately respond to calls from The Associated Press on Monday.