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Families left scrambling after state orders shutdown of Hauula assisted living facility

Updated: Apr. 26, 2021 at 5:53 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Nestled in Hauula, more than 60 assisted living residents are living their golden years. But now many are worried about the future.

The State Department of Health announced it’s immediately revoking the license and closing Dignity Senior Living at Oceanside Hawaii, an assisted living facility on Kamehameha Highway.

All residents must be discharged by this Friday, and some say they don’t know where they’ll go.

Lawrence Kawaguchi, 74, says he doesn’t know what’s going on.

“I cannot find a place, that would be a worst fear. They cannot place me and I cannot afford it,” said Hayward.

Experts say it’s unprecedented for the state to order the closure of a licensed assisted living facility.

In explaining its decision, the state cited “caregiver neglect against the facility” and “residents at risk of harm without immediate corrective action.”

Some 149 deficiencies were found at the Oceanside Hawaii. Among the issues Health Department inspectors found: A registered nurse is not always available and unlicensed personnel are giving medication to residents.

State Rep. John Mizuno said by law the Health Department had to shut down the facility.

“The facility needed to take corrective action and they didn’t and because they failed to do so, the Department of Health, I believe, had no choice,” said Mizuno.

Kirstin Downey;s mother lives at the facility. She said residents are worried about what’s next.

“They are just wandering on the grounds, crying, not knowing what’s going to happen to them,” she said, adding that families are scrambling for new housing.

She said the last-minute search in the middle of a pandemic is unfair.

“I couldn’t believe the cruelty,” said Downey. “Where has the state been trying to fix the problems?”

John McDermott, state long-term care ombudsman, went to the facility Monday to meet with staff and residents. “I am not disputing the findings,” he said. “I am only stating no one can find new homes for 61 residents during a pandemic in now four more days.”

Albert Chen, CEO of the facility, did not return HNN’s requests for comment but told media partner Civil Beat that they won’t shut down and are making an appeal.

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