Interior Health has hired a consultant to help get Summerland Seniors Village back on track in light of concerns raised by a resident’s family.
The clinical consultant was brought in Saturday morning “to ensure appropriate care is being delivered to residents at the facility,” and will work with staff and management “to address concerns and improve care,” the health authority said in a news release on Saturday afternoon.
Karen Bloemink, regional director of residential services, noted in the release that Interior Health already had a review in progress.
“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.”
The release goes on to confirm that the Ministry of Health is conduction its own investigation and that Retirement Concepts, the facility operators, is co-operating fully.
Multiple investigations are now underway to find out why staff at a Summerland care home failed to check on the well-being of a resident who is now near death in Penticton hospital.
Alfredo Bonaldi, 91, had been in good health while living in an assisted-living unit at the Summerland Seniors Village until he was felled last week by a suspected case of food poisoning, according to son-in-law Gil Inglis.
Inglis said he had dinner with Bonaldi last Wednesday, but relatives were unable to reach him by phone in the days that followed, so Inglis went to check on Bonaldi on Sunday and found his father-in-law lying unconscious in his room.
According to Inglis, if residents are missing at meal times, staff members are supposed to find out why.
“That didn’t happen,” he said.
Inglis said he hadn’t yet heard from facility operator Retirement Concepts and hopes going public with the family’s concerns will prevent a repeat elsewhere.
Retirement Concepts didn’t return a call for comment Friday, but a spokesman has told other news outlets that the company is investigating why staff didn’t follow the check-up policy.
Bonaldi hasn’t regained consciousness, Inglis said.
“At this point… it’s not looking like he’s going to recover.”
The son-in-law said Bonaldi’s kidneys have failed and he is also begin treated for a staph infection and salmonella poisoning, which is suspected to have caused him to collapse Wednesday.
Inglis said, however, that he doesn’t believe the care home’s food is to blame.
“I ate the same meal he did, so we can’t start pointing the finger saying the food’s no good,” he said.
Bonaldi, he added, required no nursing care and was responsible for making his own breakfasts, but ate lunches and dinners that were provided by the home.
Interior Health’s Cindy Regier, who looks after residential care licensing in the region, said the authority is now conducting a quality investigative review of the facility as a result of complaints from Bonaldi’s family.
“This is a review that we do when concerns are brought forward in regard to the care,” said Regier.
That review should be complete in a matter of days, she said, and an action plan then shared with Retirement Concepts and the family.
Interior Health has conducted two other unannounced inspections at the facility in the past month.
Regier said those inspections were launched “in response to concerns,” but added she was unable to disclose what concerns were brought forward and by whom due to the ongoing investigation.
The first review, conducted Oct. 31, detailed seven areas of concern, according to records posted online. Issues identified ranged from a lack of documentation and policy around the use of restraints to unsafe food storage.
However, investigators also noted the absence of a facility policy around the ongoing education of staff and managers and that the home had no educator on staff.
Regier said 75 beds at the privately-owned Summerland Seniors Village are under contract to Interior Health, although Bonaldi paid his own way.
B.C. Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid has reportedly ordered a separate ministry investigation into Bonaldi’s case.