Senior facility brought to code

A senior-care facility that was discovered to have illegal chains and locks on patients’ doors cleared up the last of its violations but is still under investigation by San Mateo County and the state.

A South San Francisco Fire Department inspection Monday found the Winston Manor facility, for adults 60 years of age and older, in full compliance with city building and fire codes after workers demolished a garage that had illegal storage lockers and fixed a pane of glass in a window, the fire inspector said.

On Thursday, the six-patient facility on Elkwood Drive in South City was issued $3,500 in citations for code violations. The citations occurred after a county elder abuse investigator discovered illegal locks and chains on patients’ doors and, in one instance, a door that had a two-by-four piece of wood barring it.

Windows in patients’ rooms were locked and screwed shut as well, but a contractor cleared up those violations that day.

On Feb. 16, a patient walked away from the facility only to be discovered during the early morning hours in Colma, and Tom Carney, the South San Francisco fire Inspector, said he would guess the illegal locks were put into place sometime after that event.

Facilities sometimes build storage lockers in the garage to make extra space for patients or workers, Carney said. He added that the pane of glass was dangerous for patients, some of whom can be a danger to themselves.

“The patients need to be monitored closely. The thing here is they [could] rub their hands across the glass,” Carney said.

Winston Manor is “straight with the law right now” after complying with everything requested of it, he added.

Owner Estelita Evangelista did not return multiple phone calls requesting comment on the situation.

Investigation into the facility and the safety of its patients is being handled by the Community Care Licensing Board of the state Department of Social Services and the county Ombudsman Program, which monitors the residential care facilities in the area.

Punishment for the illegal locks and chains could range from a simple fine to revocation of the facility’s license, said Shirley Washington, a spokeswoman for the Department of Social Services. “We’ll issue any range of action in accordance with what we discover,” Washington said.

Faulty senior care is not uncommon in San Mateo County with many facilities receiving violations in the last year. Carney said the fire department would increase the number of inspections for all 43 licensed residential care facilities in South City.

dsmith@examiner.com

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