The family of a 78-year-old Ottawa woman is suing her former retirement home for negligence after the woman died of dehydration in 2010.

Adele Ironmonger was admitted to the Civic hospital after a stroke in 2010. Her daughter, Sandra Wickham, said Ironmonger was transferred to Valley Stream Manor in west Ottawa after the Champlain Local Health Integration Network recommended that it would be a suitable place to stay while waiting for a bed in a long-term-care facility.


The family of Adele Ironmonger is suing a west Ottawa retirement home, alleging negligence. (CBC)

But when visiting her at the home, Wickham said she was shocked by what she saw.

"I was devastated. She looked like a skeleton. Her eyes were sunken and dark, she was incoherent, she was hallucinating, she was filthy," said Wickham.

Later that day, Wickham received a call from Valley Stream informing the family Ironmonger would be admitted to the hospital due to dehydration.

Doctor advises call to coroner

The doctor at the hospital said the elderly woman was gravely ill and advised the coroner's office be called immediately after her death. Irongmonger died four days later.

Wickham and the rest of the family are seeking $700,000 from Valley Stream and the Champlain LHIN for alleged negligence.

"My motivation is to make sure that people hear this story because I walked in there with all the trust in the world, and I was wrong in my assumption," Wickham said.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

A weekend manager at Valley Stream Manor said they have no comment. Staff at Champlain LHIN could not be reached for comment.

Patients could be transferred to retirement homes as a transition between hospitals and long-term care homes between 2010 and Jan. 2012. That is no longer an option, though.