Sunday, July 26, 2020

California nursing facility devastated by 17 coronavirus deaths will close permanently

Don and Gerry Warren were married for 71 years. She spent her final three at Stollwood Convalescent Hospital in Woodland CA. Before she died in March of Alzheimer’s. Don moved in with her. A month later, he died of COVID-19 as it hit the facility. By David Caraccio | RenĂ©e C. Byer

Stollwood Convalescent Hospital, a Woodland skilled nursing facility devastated by 17 coronavirus deaths in the earlier months of the pandemic, will close permanently this fall.

A message posted Wednesday morning to Stollwood’s website, signed by CEO Sean Beloud, says that after a “thorough financial analysis,” the facility “would operate at a significant monthly loss with no assurance the admissions would increase.” Beloud and other Stollwood officials decided to close the skilled-nursing facility and suspend its license effective Sept. 30, a date approved last week by the California Department of Public Health.

Beloud told The Sacramento Bee he has been in talks with each of the remaining 16 residents and their families. Some might be relocated to the assisted-living side of the campus, and others might move to nearby nursing homes.

It was unclear as of Wednesday how many employees might be moved to jobs elsewhere on the campus and how many might be laid off altogether, Beloud said.

“We’ll navigate through it,” said Beloud, who took the top job in August after working as a physical therapy assistant at the campus for 24 years. “I feel that I will be here to lead and grow and transition this into the future.”

Stollwood appears to be the first nursing home in Northern California to close because of the coronavirus, though industry experts have said the financial strains from the pandemic could overwhelm many facilities across the state and country.

The nursing home is part of the larger St. John’s Retirement Village complex on Woodland Avenue. The rest of the St. John’s campus, which includes assisted living facilities providing a lower level of medical care to residents, will remain open, Beloud said.

The horrific coronavirus outbreak at Stollwood was chronicled in depth by The Bee earlier this month, including interviews with Beloud as well as family members of elderly residents of the 48-bed facility who passed away from the highly contagious respiratory disease, with most dying in April.

Many of those who talked to The Bee nonetheless spoke glowingly of the staff and the nonprofit facility, which has a five-star review on the federal government’s Nursing Home Compare website and had boasted a nearly spotless record based on recent inspection reports that only turned up relatively minor issues such as lapses involving hand washing.

Patricia Warren, whose father died of COVID-19 at Stollwood, said in a recent interview she thinks the nursing home “did everything they could … knowing what we knew back then” about the emerging virus.

“I’ve looked and I’ve searched for answers. I’m a caregiver at heart. And to be honest, this whole transition has broken my heart with what could have, or what should have,” Beloud, the CEO, told The Bee weeks prior to the closure announcement. “... And I know we had the policies in place, procedures in place following every guideline that was put forth in front of us.”

Wednesday’s announcement notes how the “infiltration of COVID in nursing homes” brought on “extremely dark days,” but that Stollwood worked diligently with state and county health officials to eradicate the virus, resulting in it being taken off a state list for active outbreaks at skilled nursing facilities in June.

The nursing home’s 17 deaths, which included at least one staff member, continue to represent half of the COVID-19 death toll for all of Yolo County, where 34 have now died of the disease. All told, 32 residents and 34 staff members at Stollwood tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, during the outbreak.

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California nursing facility devastated by 17 coronavirus deaths will close permanently

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