Family seeks facts about incident

A Summerland family wants to know why their 91-year-old father almost died in a seniors home.

A Summerland family wants to know why their 91-year-old father almost died in a seniors home while staff failed to check on him for three days.

Alfredo Bonaldi was found near death in his room at Summerland Seniors Village Sunday, Nov. 25. For three days he had missed his scheduled meals in the common dining area.

He is being treated at Penticton Regional Hospital for kidney failure, a staph infection and salmonella poisoning.

He is undergoing intense kidney dialysis and is being given antibiotics for the infections. He is unable to eat and is on intravenous. As of press time this week, he was starting to come around and attempting to speak, according to a family spokesman.

“It’s still day-to-day,” said son-in-law Gil Inglis of Summerland. “He tried to get out a couple of words.”

Inglis had found him in his bed, unconscious and suffering from severe diarrhea about 11 a.m. that Sunday. He called paramedics, who took him to Penticton’s emergency department.

The paramedics also picked up his packaged medications. Inglis said it appeared he had not taken any of his prescriptions since Wednesday evening. Inglis now has possession of the blister-packed medications.

Bonaldi had dinner with his daughter Edi and his son-in-law on Wednesday Nov. 21 at the seniors home.

He seemed fine at that time. They noted he took his regular medications with the meal that night.

Then he missed lunch and dinner on Nov. 22, 23 and 24. Family members tried to reach him by phone at during that time but were not overly concerned because he was active and sociable.

“He doesn’t sit in his room very much,” said Inglis.

When he did not answer repeated calls Sunday morning they became worried enough that Inglis went to check on him.

Both the B.C. Ministry of Health and the Interior Health Authority have sent personnel to the Summerland Seniors Village this week.

An inspector from the Ministry of Health arrived Monday.  The inspector will be working with the seniors village management and the IHA to determine how things went wrong and what needs to be corrected.

Minister of Health Margaret MacDiarmid told the Review the inspection will go on as long as necessary. The consultant from the Interior Health Authority and the Ministry of Health inspector are co-operating.

“We need to give them the time that it needs to take. We want them to do due diligence.”

Although there could be a preliminary recommendation or finding, the full report could take awhile.

Interior Health has brought in a clinical consultant to Summerland Seniors Village Saturday morning to ensure appropriate care is being delivered to residents living at the facility. This consultant will remain on site to work with existing management and staff to address concerns and improve care.

“An overall review of the residential care section of the facility was already underway,” says Karen Bloemink, Regional Director, Residential Services. “However, in light of recent concerns brought to us, we believe additional steps are required and we want to assure residents living at Summerland Seniors Village and their loved ones that we are taking these concerns seriously.”

An IHA news releases said Summerland Seniors Village and the company that own the facility, Retirement Concepts, are cooperating fully with this work.

Dr. Azim Jamal, president and CEO of Retirement Concepts, which owns Summerland Seniors Village,  told the Review he is deeply sorry about the situation.

“My apologies to the Bonaldi family.”

He wants find out how things went wrong so this does not happen again.

“We want to make sure to have systems in place to avoid this in the future.”

Jamal said Mr. Bonaldi was seen by staff in the common area of the Summerland Seniors Village on both the Thursday and Friday. He was not seen in the common area on the Saturday. He said the dining room staff did report his absence, but the care staff did not receive the message.

“I am not making excuses. We are very sorry.”

As an independent living resident, Bonaldi’s service package included daily lunch and dinner, weekly housekeeping and an emergency bell. He did not receive nursing care and took his medications unassisted.

Inglis disputes the report that staff saw Bonaldi during the three days. When he was found, his skin was red and cracked from contact with feces. “He didn’t get that way from Saturday to Sunday, in my personal opinion. Show us the people who saw him if he was wandering around. Why didn’t he go to over to eat?”

Bonaldi appeared to have become ill from salmonella poisoning,

“We are not suggesting it was food poisoning. We all ate the same thing,” said Inglis.

The family is still mourning the death of their mother and Bonaldi’s wife.

Maria (Luisa) Bonaldi, 84, died in August after an injury suffered in the same facility. Bedridden and suffering from dementia, she received a broken femur when staff was moving her for a bath. The fracture was not diagnosed for seven days until she was taken for x-rays. Doctors ordered immediate surgery to relieve the pain, but she did not recover from the operation. The Interior Health Authority is also investigating that case.

In addition to the Inglises, daughters Pat McCoy and Liana Felker also live in Summerland.