Please put that in writing

Authority Fraser Health Authority

Susan contacted our Office complaining that she was denied adequate and appropriate treatment by staff at two Fraser Health Authority (FHA) emergency wards. She said she told staff members she needed physical care but they focused on her known mental health issues, and even though they detained her involuntarily overnight, they did not give her written notice as required by the Mental Health Act. Susan said that FHA staff had never given her written notice despite her having been involuntarily admitted approximately ten times. Susan took her concerns to the Patient Care Quality Office (PCQO) but, when she received the PCQO concluding letter, she felt they had not conducted a real investigation into her concerns.

We investigated whether FHA and specifically the PCQO had used a fair procedure in responding to Susan’s concerns.

We reviewed the entire PCQO investigative file, which included nursing notes, physician consults, notes of interviews with nurse managers and physicians, security officer reports and hospital policies. We also considered relevant legislation and policy, as well as information provided by Susan and by FHA.

While our Office was satisfied that the PCQO had understood and investigated Susan’s concerns, and had worked with FHA to address any deficiencies, we found the PCQO had not provided a thorough explanation to Susan of the action taken as a result of her complaint.

We felt that Susan deserved this explanation and that it would benefit both her and FHA. The managing consultant at the PCQO wrote to Susan explaining the investigative process used by the PCQO, the information it considered and the steps taken by FHA to address deficiencies in the application of the Mental Health Act. The managing consultant also addressed Susan’s specific concerns about nursing staff contact with her family, her treatment by security guards and the use of cameras in emergency room settings.

We were satisfied that this effectively addressed the “missing piece” from an administrative fairness perspective, that is, communicating the results of the investigation.

Category Health
Type Case Summary
Fiscal Year 2010
Location The Lower Mainland