Our family needs information

Authority Vancouver Coastal Health Authority

Sonia was having difficulty getting information following the tragic death of her sister. She told us her sister had passed away following an accident in a residential care facility. The facility had referred Sonia to Community Care Facilities Licensing for answers to her questions about the steps being taken to review the circumstances of her sister’s death. She said her family had contacted Licensing but they weren’t given any details about the investigation and they weren’t contacted at its conclusion either.

We looked at whether Licensing had proceeded reasonably in responding to the report of Sonia’s sister’s death. We interviewed Licensing staff and reviewed their files on the matter. The files showed that the facility had notified Licensing about the incident and that Licensing had responded by attending the facility that same day to ensure the appropriate health and safety plans were in place. There was evidence that a licensing officer had then conducted an investigation of the matter and followed up with the facility to ensure they were taking steps to implement the corrective measures identified during the investigation.

Licensing generally investigates in response to complaints from the public or notification from a facility. Licensing confirmed however, that if a family member were to contact Licensing and request to be provided with information at the conclusion of an investigation, its practice was to respond to that request.

The file notes we reviewed indicated that Sonia’s sister’s son had contacted Licensing a few days after her death at the outset of the investigation. While the details of the conversation between Sonia’s family and the licensing officer were unclear, it was clear that they had initiated contact with Licensing and sought information about the steps taken in response to their family member’s death. This was information that Licensing had obtained during their investigation and that was important to the family. We raised this in discussion with Licensing and proposed that Licensing write to Sonia and her family and provide information about the investigation and an apology for not having contacted her family at the end of the investigation. Licensing agreed and sent a letter apologizing and providing information about its investigation to Sonia’s family.

Category Health
Type Case Summary
Fiscal Year 2013
Location The Lower Mainland