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Who Would Leave the Elderly and Disabled to Fend for Themselves?
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Who Would Leave the Elderly and Disabled to Fend for Themselves?

The State of California Social Services are being investigated following a recent negligence scandal. This occurred when they closed down a care home for elderly and disabled people, where most of the staff left, and fourteen vulnerable patients were left to fend for themselves. The Valley Manor Residential Care facility was shut down by officials at California Department of Social Services, with no contingency plan made for the care of the patients. Most of the staff simply walked out, and only the cook, janitor and a couple of care workers stayed out of concern for the residents, according to investigators.

The Valley Manor operators bear ultimate responsibility for the neglect in this instance, as they did not make proper provision for the care of the residents following the closure of the home on 24 October last, and this is by no means the first time a fiasco like this has occurred. In fact Valley Manor has a history of care violations which goes back some years. This incident, described as a “bungled” closure, should serve as a warning to anyone with loved ones in a home like this, to check as far as possible that this does not happen to them. The shocking circumstances came to light when staff called 911 on the Saturday and all the residents were then taken by ambulance to other facilities. Many of these patients were bedridden, amputees, wheelchair-bound, or had mental health issues.

It appears that the Social Services Department had very good reason to close this facility. Even when they were at full capacity with their staff there, there had been issues with very unsanitary conditions, staff not giving residents their medication or taking them to hospital after falls, etc, and insufficiently trained carers who had been hired without full background checks being performed on them. In the past neighbours had reported fire trucks and ambulances being called to the Valley Manor home almost daily, and there had also been many complaints from the local residents about mentally ill patients wandering the streets and causing problems by littering, flashing and harassing local people. The locals petitioned the State to revoke Valley Manor's license, and after this the home reduced the number of residents and stopped admitting mental patients.

It transpired that the workers at the home were charged by the Social Services Dept to find alternative housing placements for the patients, and clearly they did not. It's shocking that these people were left to fend for themselves. How can we assume that with our most vulnerable citizens, such as the elderly and disabled, someone else will just look after them if we fail to?

I hope you got something from this blog and your votes and comments are much appreciated.




*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.

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