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Lack of heat in husband’s care home has Kelowna woman demanding provincial action

‘I want full disclosure for those who have a vested interest in the healthcare of family members’
Lynn Fanelli and husband Paul.

Lynn Fanelli of Lake Country is angry.

Angry that her husband Paul has been living in his room at Spring Valley Care Centre without proper heat for nearly 60 days. Paul became a resident at the centre on Dec. 19 2021 after treatment for cancer at Kelowna General Hospital.

“They put in a space heater at that time and looked into the problem with the heating system which I believe was ongoing because the pieces for the units in the room were laying on the floor,” said Fanelli.

She contacted the Community Care Facilities Licencing department at Interior Health (IH) which is in part responsible for ensuring regulations are met in licensed child care programs and child/youth and adult long-term care facilities.

She and other families later received an email that the heating system was fixed prior to a Zoom meeting between families and Spring Valley management on Jan. 13. Fanelli said she had asked management to remove the space heaters before that meeting.

“They didn’t remove the space heaters, because the heating was not fixed,” she said.

During the meeting, Fanelli asked what was happening with heating in the building and was told the boiler system was not working but the heat had been restored. But that was not the case according to Fanelli and she asked again for it to be fixed.

“They said, at that time, there was no money in the budget for the next year to do any repairs for heating and cooling systems in the building.”

Fanelli again went back to IH licencing, and also contacted the Patient Care Quality Office (PCQO) at IH. She then reached out to B.C. Seniors’ Advocate Isobel MacKenzie.

“I got a nice email back saying thanks but we’ll add you to the list of problems,” she said.

Fanelli added the PCQO has since closed her file because they have no ability to enforce it because of current legislation.

Capital News contacted Park Place Seniors Living, which owns Spring Valley, and was provided with a written statement by VP Operations, Kathy Nduwayo:

In December 2021, a concern was brought forward to the management of Spring Valley Care Centre regarding a room where the heating system had just failed. During this period, the Okanagan was experiencing record-breaking cold temperatures that impacted many aging buildings across the health care system and Spring Valley Care Centre was not spared. Due to extreme temperatures, the building’s heating system struggled to keep up with demand in an isolated part of the building.

The comfort and safety of Spring Valley’s residents are paramount to all members of our staff. In response to this issue, on-site management immediately implemented an interim solution to bring the temperature up to a more comfortable level in the affected part of the building. Heating system improvements are underway.

Multiple options have been provided to alleviate any safety concerns in this matter. All involved regulatory stakeholders were immediately informed and brought in to assist. These stakeholders include Patient Care Quality Office, Kelowna Fire Department, Interior Health Authority, and residential care licensing. Each has indicated they are satisfied with the plan to address the heating issue.

We wish to assure all residents, families, and the larger community of our commitment to providing a safe environment and quality care to our residents.”

Fanelli has also contacted Kelowna-Lake Country MLA, Norm Letnick for help.

“We have communicated via my office,” said Letnick. “I won’t get into the details of a private matter with a constituent, but what I can tell you is the issue was recently forwarded to the health minister. We’ll wait to hear the minister’s response to our correspondence.”

Fanelli has started a petition to mandate senior care home maintenance in B.C.

“I want them fined, I want them held accountable, I want full disclosure to all people who have a vested interest in the healthcare of their family members.”

Read More: Laid-off Campbell River employees face-off with Island Health directors

Read More: Do we now fully comprehend the extent of care home neglect in Canada?


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Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Journalist and broadcaster for three decades.
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