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Coroner probing death of retirement home resident

Patient and doctor.


The B.C. coroner's office is investigating the death of a 91-year-old man who became ill and was missing at meal times for four days before staff at his retirement home checked on him.

Alfredo Bonaldi, a resident of independent living accommodations at Summerland Seniors Village, was found seriously ill in his bedroom and admitted to Penticton Regional Hospital on Nov. 25. He died last Friday evening.

The coroner's office has not confirmed the nature of his illness, but has launched an investigation. The report could recommend ways to prevent such deaths, and an inquest could be called.

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B.C. Health Ministry spokesman Ryan Jabs confirmed the province is launching a "top-to-bottom review" of policies, staff and resource allocation at the 232-room facility.

Tony Baena, the vice-president of operations at Retirement Concepts, the company that owns the Summerland Seniors Village, said that staff breached protocol.

"A check should have been done of the room [to] ensure that the resident is not in their room ill," Mr. Baena said. "That did not appear to have taken place."

Retirement Concepts also owns 11 properties on Vancouver Island.

In the past two years, seven complaints were made against the company's residential care programs due to "contraventions of regulatory requirements," and three complaints were lodged about the company's assisted living programs, Mr. Jabs said.

Retirement Concepts is also conducting its own investigation into the case and the company has issued a letter of apology to Mr. Bonaldi's family, Mr. Baena said.

A letter addressed to Ms. Bonaldi's daughter, Pat McCoy, states:

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"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."

The letter is signed by Mr. Baena and Retirement Concepts CEO Azim Jamal.

Katrine Conroy, a New Democrat MLA serving as the critic for seniors and long-term care, said the province lacks clear standards for retirement homes.

"You expect a level of care for your loved one," Ms. Conroy said. "We have to make sure in this province that level of care is provided."

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