Sheriff’s deputies in Castro Valley, Calif. removed 14 elderly residents from an assisted living facility on Saturday after determining the facilities officially closed on Thursday and left the elderly patients behind.
According to KTVU, the California Department of Social Services shut down the Valley Manor Residential Care facility on Oct. 24 to "protect the health and safety of the clients in care." The employees, knowing they wouldn’t be paid any wages from that point forward, walked off the job, leaving behind 14 residents, including several who were bedridden. One cook, one janitor, and one caregiver stayed behind without pay because they “felt bad for the patients.”
An overwhelmed member of the skeleton crew called 911 on Saturday and sheriff’s deputies found the 14 patients “virtually alone” and in “filthy conditions.” According to a spokesperson for the Department of Social Services, “The indication was that staff was going to be there to operate the facility throughout the weekend, while the licensee found other places for the residents." Because most of the staff walked away, this did not happen.
The facility's shutdown was probably not a surprise for those who had interacted with Valley Manor. A now-removed review on caring.com that claimed to be written by a patient was published in September:
"Check the public record for reasons this place has been fined several times for several things. The owner is not permitted on the property. Please keep looking. We have no nurses and the food is not conducive to balanced nutrition or diabetic needs."
All patients were removed by ambulance to other care centers and none seemed to be suffering additional health problems due to the abandonment. Officials are now searching for the owners of the facilities and a criminal investigation is being conducted.