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Redwood City Police Fight Elder Abuse In Nursing Homes

May 2, 2003 | AP

The city is set to launch a program to send uniformed police officers into nursing homes to conduct surprise visits.

The city council voted 6-0 this week to have police conduct unannounced visits to look for signs of neglect, abuse or crime.

"We are not pointing a finger at anyone, and we don't anticipate finding a lot of problems," said city council member Ira Ruskin. "But we want to set a policy that shows we are aware and watching, and Redwood City cares about its elderly population."

Police will patrol the city's only two skilled-nursing homes, Sequoia Hospital's Extended Care and the privately operated Devonshire Oaks, at least four times a year. Both homes have clean citation records for the past five years, state records show, and Devonshire won an award from the state last year for excellent service.

But a third Redwood City nursing home, Laurel Glen Convalescent Hospital, was shut down three years ago by the state health department for problems with food, staffing, bedsores, lack of doctor visits and dehydration.

Administrators at Sequoia and Devonshire Oaks said they will welcome the officers, though they doubt the patrols will be productive.

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