The body of a 76-year-old senior who wandered away from her North Vancouver care home was found near the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge on Sunday afternoon. RCMP confirm Joan Warren’s body was found about 3:30 p.m. PT by a hiker. Initial indications are that she died of hypothermia in the subzero weather. “This brings a very sad and ill-fated ending to the many hours of exhaustive searching by numerous citizens, volunteers, Search and Rescue staff and police,” said a statement issued by Cpl. Richard De Jong of the North Vancouver RCMP.
“This is a tragic outcome, with the North Vancouver RCMP extending their sincere condolences and sympathy to the family and friends of Joan Warren.”
RCMP and North Shore Rescue had been searching for Warren since she left her seniors’ residence in the 900 block of Lynn Valley Road in North Vancouver at 9 a.m. PT Friday morning.
On Sunday afternoon before her body was found, officials called off the search, although Warren’s family and members of the community continued to look for her. Warren was staying in a secure section of Sunrise Senior Living of Lynn Valley, a private care facility “whose members are experts in relationship-based Alzheimer’s and memory care” according to the centre’s website.
Warren’s family told CBC News her mother was supposed to be wearing a bracelet that should have prevented her from exiting the facility. When asked about security in their facilities, Jeff Slichta, senior vice-president of operations for Sunrise Senior Living’s Western Division, said there are alarmed doors and designated care managers who are there to keep residents from wandering away. But when asked what could have gone wrong in Warren’s case, Slichta refused to comment.
This latest incident comes two years after the death of another Sunrise resident, 88-year-old Eldon Mooney, whose family was told he died peacefully in his sleep at the same care home in Lynn Valley. But a video camera his daughter had placed in the room showed Mooney choking to death while being fed by a caregiver.This led the coroner to file a damning report on practices at the facility and reportedly caused Sunrise to change some of its practices.
The 2011 case also lead to calls for a seniors advocate, a position which was officially created in Feb. 2013, the first of its kind in Canada. However, a seniors advocate has still not been appointed.
On Nov. 19, this year, the government did move forward with the plan, launching an open competition to recruit someone for the role. The competition will close on Dec. 13.
B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake said he would look at the Joan Warren case to see if changes should be made to better protect elderly patients. “We do have legislation, the Community Care and Assisted Living Act, which has regulations around the monitoring of people who require it. So we’ll certainly look to the investigation by the coroner’s office, the medical health officer and Vancouver Coastal Health to see what exactly went wrong and anything we can do to improve the situation.”
CBC News Posted: Dec 09, 2013 6:48 AM PT| Last Updated: Dec 09, 2013 7:08 PM PT