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Bay Area nursing home shuts, abandons patients

CASTRO VALLEY — Detectives are investigating an assisted living facility that closed Thursday and left behind 14 sick and elderly patients, a spokesman for the Alameda County Sheriff's Office said Saturday.

Paramedics called to the Valley 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 report (http://bit.ly/1dyvplR) that paramedics also found bedridden patients attended by a handful of staff members who stayed to help them, despite not being paid.

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.

The facility came to the attention of law enforcement Saturday 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 that social service officials had checked on the facility Saturday 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."

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Information from: San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com

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