British Columbia's ombudsman will conduct a sweeping investigation into problems with senior care in the province after getting more than 50 complaints over the summer.

Kim Carter said Thursday her office has received complaints about neglect in care facilities, spouses being separated and the closure of other facilities.

"Seniors are part of a generation that had to do without and overcome adversity so they may be less inclined to complain,'' Carter said in a news release.

She said she decided to launch what she calls a "systemic'' investigation after meeting with seniors' groups.

Carter said she's worried that some seniors may be unable to complain effectively because of physical or mental challenges or may be worried about coming forward because they feel vulnerable.

The investigation will look into aspects of how seniors access services, standards of care in facilities and how those standards are monitored and enforced.

It will also look at how information about seniors' care services is provided to the public and to those affected by decisions, Carter said.

As part of her investigation, Carter has posted a questionnaire about seniors' care on her website and people can also submit a complaint by phone.

Ontario's ombudsman is conducting a similar investigation after an investigation by The Canadian Press found three quarters of that province's care homes have consistently failed to meet government standards.

Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin said last month public confidence in nursing homes has been shaken and the province's elderly citizens deserve better.

An analysis of Ontario inspection reports from April 2007 to March this year by The Canadian Press found some homes repeatedly failed to give residents the minimum two baths a week, while inspectors encountered other seniors wallowing in "foul-smelling'' and "bulky'' diapers.