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B.C.'s Independent Voice For Fairness


947 Fort Street

PO Box 9039 Stn Prov Govt
VictoriaBC V8W 9A5


April 2,2015
File: 12-120321
Mr. David Varcoe and Ms. Nancv Varcoe
173 321 Yorkton Avenue
Dear Mr. and Ms. Varcoe:
Thank you for contactingour Office in September 2012 to report your concernsabout Interior
Health. I appreciateyour patiencewith the length of time it has taken to concludethis
investigation. Further to our last discussion,I am writing to confirm that I have ceasedmy
investigationinto your complaint and will be closing our file as settledfor the reasonsdiscussed.
Your complaint
You contactedus with concernsabout Interior Health's involvement in providingcare to Ms.
Varcoe, who had been admittedinto PentictonRegional Hospital for emergencytreatment,and
was subsequentlytransferredto Westview Place,a residentialcare facility operatedby the health
authority. You told us that Ms. Varcoe had requestedto return home shortly after her admission
into residentialcare,but Interior Health was refusing to dischargeher home. You also reported
concernsabout a social worker forging Ms. Varcoe's signatureon a documentwhich rescindedher
Power of Attorney. Subsequently,Interior Health made a referral to the Public Guardianand
Trustee(PGT) to manageMs. Varcoe's legal and financial affairs, which createdadditional
financial and emotionalhardshipfor you both.
Our investigation
Our Office investigatedwhether Interior Health had provided an adequateand appropriate
explanationfor its involvement in Ms. Varcoe's care and decisionmaking.
We learnedthrough our investigationthat although Interior Health staff believed Ms. Varcoe was
vulnerableand they had concernsabout her ability to be caredfor at home, they did not take the
necessarystepsas prescribedby the provincial adult guardianshiplegislation to pursuean order
authorizingthe provision of servicesor completea Supportand AssistancePlan. A Supportand
AssistancePlan was draftedbut never formalized or agreedupon, and the health authority
detainedher in residential careand chargedthe coresponding residentialcare fees for over two
yearswithout having the proper legal authority to do so. Furthermore,it was evident that health
authority staff had facilitated the revocationof Ms. Varcoe's Power of Attorney without providing
her with accessto legal counsel,resulting in the PGT's involvement in managingher legal and
financial affairs.
Our investigationdeterminedthat Interior Health may have inaccuratelyrepresentedtheir role
with respectto Ms. Varcoe's placementin residential careand their authority to detain her. In an
"effortto keep her in care,,the health authority eventually admittedMs. Varcoe as an involuntary
patient under the Mental Health Act. The health authority did not have adequatereasonto detain

Mr. David Varcoeand Ms. Nancy Varcoe


her, and after spendingover two yearsin care againsther expresswishes,a decisionby the
Review Panelorderedthat Ms. Varcoe be immediately dischargedhome.
Our investigationrevealedthat Interior Health may not have followed a fair processor provided
an adequateexplanationof its role in providing careto Ms. Varcoe. Becausethe stepstaken by
the health authority resultedin significant loss of liberty and financial hardshipto you both, we
consultedwith Interior Health and proposeda resolution,which included the following:

Offer a formal apology and refund any residentialcare feesyou paid during Ms. Varcoe's
stay at WestviewPlacefrom March 20ll to May 2013.

2. Commit to developingguidelinesand training staff on the health authority's roles and

responsibilitiesunder theAdult GuardianshipAct.
3. Commit to enhancingpolicies and addressingthe issueof staff witnessingand responding
to legal documents.
I have confirmed that Interior Health has met with you, offered a formal apology, and agreedto
refund you the entire amount you paid for Ms. Varcoe's placementin residentialcare for the
period from March 20ll to May 2013. Interior Health has further committed to providing a three
day training seminarand offer additional supportto staff on the adult guardianshiplegislation,as
well as educationsessionson the topic of respondingto legal documents. As we considertheseto
be adequatestepstaken by Interior Health to addressthe concernsidentified in our investigation,I
am satisfiedthat your complaint is settledand have ceasedmy investigationunder the authority
Act (pleaseseebelow).
providedby Sectionl3(i) of the Ombudsperson
If you have any questionsabout this letter, pleasefeel free to contactme on my direct line at
(250)387-3709or toll-free throughServiceBC at 1-800-663-7867
Thank you for contactingthe Office of the Ombudsperson.

Yours sincerely,

Rachel Warren
13 The Ombudspersonmay refuse to investigateor ceaseinvestigatinga complaint if, in the opinion of the
Ombudsperson,any of the following apply:

the complaint is settledunder section 14.

14 (2) At any time during or after an investigation the Ombudspersonmay consult with an authority to
attempt to settle the complaint, or for any other purpose
R . S . B . C1. 9 9 6