The B.C. coroner’s service is investigating the case of Alfredo Bonaldi, 91, who died last Friday after being ignored for days while lying ill in a Summerland seniors’ home.
Bonaldi was a resident of Summerland Seniors Village, where he was found near death in his room Nov. 25 after missing meals for three days.
When a relative discovered him that day, unconscious and lying in filth, he was taken to Penticton Regional Hospital where he was treated for a variety of ailments including salmonella and kidney failure.
An autopsy was performed this week and the case is being investigated by Elizabeth Noble of the B. C. Coroner’s Service Interior office.
Funeral arrangements have been announced. A memorial mass is planned for Dec. 15 at 11 a.m. at Holy Child Catholic Church in Summerland.
When Bonaldi had dinner with Edi and Gil Inglis, his daughter and son-in-law, on Wednesday Nov. 21 at the seniors’ home, he appeared to be in good health.
Then he missed lunch and dinner on Nov. 22, 23 and 24.
Family members tried to reach him by phone during that time but were not overly concerned because he was active and sociable.
When he did not answer repeated calls the morning of Sunday, Nov. 25, they became worried enough that Gil Inglis went to check on him. Inglis found him unconscious and called for an ambulance.
Both the B.C. Ministry of Health and the Interior Health Authority sent personnel to the Summerland Seniors Village last week.
An inspector from the Ministry of Health is working with the seniors village management and the IHA to determine how things went wrong and what needs to be corrected.
Interior Health sent a clinical consultant to Summerland Seniors Village to ensure appropriate care is being delivered to residents living at the facility.
This is the second death for the family related to care at the Summerland Seniors Village.
Mr. Bonaldi’s wife, Maria (Luisa), 84, died in August after an injury suffered in the same facility. Bedridden and suffering from dementia, she received a broken leg when staff was moving her for a bath. The fracture was not diagnosed for a week until she was taken for x-rays at the insistence of family members. 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.
Retirement Concepts has issued a letter of apology to the family.
The letter, dated Dec. 7, is addressed to Pat McCoy, one of Bonaldi’s daughters.
“Thank you for taking the time to meet with us today to discuss the incidents involving your mother and father at Summerland Seniors Village. You made us aware of information that was previously unknown to us and we will be able to use this information to improve our policies, procedures, reporting and communication.
“We sincerely apologize to you and your family for all you have gone through over the past several weeks and months as a result of what happened to your parents at our facility. “Thanks to the information you provided to us today, we now know that errors were made by our staff in reporting the injury to your mother and we will be taking appropriate action to ensure reporting is more comprehensive and that communication with family more timely.
“In your father’s case, there was an obvious breakdown in communication that resulted in his absence from meals going unreported for several days before he was found in his room. In this case too, we are taking steps to improve our reporting procedure and communication between staff members.
“Unfortunately, even the best policies and procedures cannot eliminate human error. Nevertheless, we will continue to strive to improve our systems and staff training so that we can reduce human error to an absolute minimum.”
The letter is signed by Azim Jamal, president and CEO; and Tony Baena, vice-president of operations.