The Vancouver Island Health Authority says it is investigating whether or not a woman was given timely information about her husband's hospital care, after she filed a complaint over what she says is a lack of communication from hospital staff.

Catherine Bolton's 83-year-old husband, Richard, spent 103 days in Nanaimo General Hospital from Dec. 2012 to September of this year during three separate hospital stays.


Catherine Bolton claims that she was unable to get timely updates on her 83-year-old husband's care while he was at Nanaimo General Hospital. ((

Over that time period, Richard suffered an ulcerated heel from extended periods of inactivity, an abscessed lung, underwent a potentially fatal surgery and was diagnosed with C. difficile infections three separate times.

Catherine says that during her husband's time in hospital, the doctor in charge of the ward would change every few days and that she was unable to track them to get information about Richard's care.

"You're trying to find out what they are doing, what are they looking for, what does this mean?" she told CBC News.

The nurses at the hospital were unwilling to disclose information, as well, and Catherine says she was told by the patient care quality division that she would not be allowed to see a report on her complaint unless she applied through B.C.'s Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

The head of patient flow for the Vancouver Island Health Authority, Elin Bjarnason, says that the communication breakdown is not the way the system is supposed to work and that they will be reviewing the case.

"This is important for us, that patients and their designated alternate, if you like, has access to information so they can make appropriate decisions on the care that's being provided," Bjarnason says.

The Boltons say the prolonged case has made them lose faith in the system, and that it's very important that family members are very involved in the care of their loved ones.

With files from the CBC's Lisa Cordasco