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Family upset after resident moved from Oroville nursing home


Original source:
http://www.orovillemr.com/news/ci_14446434

Oroville Mercury Register
Feb. 21, 2010
by LARRY MITCHELL - Staff Writer

OROVILLE -- The family of an elderly man who lived at an Oroville nursing home was told he needed to move out, his son and daughter said.

Gordon Stout, a 79-year-old retired teacher, had lived in the dementia unit of Olive Ridge Care Center for more than a year.

That was a manageable arrangement, said his son, Wayne Stout of Magalia, and daughter, Linda Powell of Paradise. They were able to take their mother, who is 83, to visit her husband three or four times a week in Oroville. But now that he has been moved to a nursing home in Novato, in the Bay Area, frequent visits are no longer possible.

The younger Stout said Olive Ridge staff told him and his sister the dementia unit was being closed to make room for patients who were discharged from acute-care hospitals and needed to convalesce.

Stout said it appeared perhaps 30 of the approximately 40 people who lived in the dementia unit had been moved out recently.

A call by the Enterprise-Record to the administration of Olive Ridge was not returned. Neither was a call made to the nursing home's corporate owner, Evergreen Healthcare Companies, in the state of Washington.

Stout said Olive Ridge staff found a spot for his father at a nursing home in Novato. They said it was the closest suitable facility that could take him.

Stout said he didn't have any say in his father's move because his dad is in a conservatorship through the Butte County Public Guardian.

He said Public Guardian's office hopes to find a nursing home for his father that is closer to Paradise. Olive Ridge staff told him they were going "above and beyond" what was required by finding other facilities for residents, he said, and that the only thing necessary was giving 24 hours' notice to their families.

However, Michael Connors, an advocate with California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, said nursing-home residents have a right to stay where they are living. Wanting to make room for another class of residents did not appear to be a valid reason for moving people out, he said.

Ralph Montano, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Health, said if Olive Ridge was closing its dementia unit, it would have had to obtain permission from the state. It appears, however, that the nursing home is only phasing out the unit, and that doesn't require approval from his department.

Nevertheless, he said, very specific rules apply to making any changes that involve residents being transferred to other nursing homes.

Stout said it was ironic that the nursing home arranged to have his father and other dementia patients moved. The staff had emphasized how important it was for such patients not to have any disruption of routines. Now, the nursing home has caused what amounts to an extreme disruption, he said.

Stout said he planned to file a complaint with the state Department of Public Health.