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Coroner will investigate seniors death

As of Monday morning, the RCMP was not considering charges against Summerland Seniors Village, where a 91-year-old man was found near death in his room in November.

Alfredo Bonaldi  was subsequently taken to Penticton Regional Hospital and has since died.

“Somebody has to come to us and make a complaint and nobody has,” said Sgt. Mona Kauffeld, with the Summerland detachment.  “The family may go down the civil avenue rather than the criminal avenue, but we certainly would investigate it if there was a complaint."

The BC Coroners Service, however, has confirmed it is investigating the death. 

Bonaldi died late on the evening of Dec. 7 at Penticton Regional Hospital. He had been in hospital since Nov. 25 when family members
found him in medical distress at the Summerland Seniors Village where he was a resident.

The hospital reported the death to the BC Coroners Service. The investigation is still in its preliminary stages, and it is too early to comment on reports of potential problems arising from Mr. Bonaldi's stay at the Summerland care home.

The BC Coroners Service conducts fully independent investigations into all unnatural, unexpected or unexplained deaths in the province. The investigation will be concluded either by a Coroner's Report that will be available to the public, or possibly by the calling of a public inquest at which time sworn evidence in the case would be heard by a
jury.

In a statement the Coroner services says, "In either case, the mandate of the Coroners Service is not to find fault or lay blame, but it may make recommendations to try to prevent future deaths in similar circumstances."

After Bonaldi was found Interior Health brought in a clinical consultant to ensure appropriate care was being delivered to residents living at the facility on Atkinson Road. The consultant will remain on site to work with existing management and staff to address concerns and improve care.

In addition to having a clinical consultant on site, the Ministry of Health is also investigating and taking steps to ensure residents living in other parts of the facility, whether assisted living or independent living, are also receiving safe and appropriate services.

That situation remains unchanged a spokeswoman for Interior Health, said Monday.

In a letter issued Friday from Retirement Concepts, the company which operates the care home, to Bonaldi's daughter Pat McCoy, president and CEO Azim Jamal offers the family a sincere apology.

“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 polices 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."

Family members could not be reached for comment.

People walking outside the care home on Monday described Bonaldi's death as a tragic and worrisome situation.

"It bothers me, because things like that shouldn't happen," said a woman who declined to give her name. "I will stay here, but I hope something like this is prevented from happening in the future."

A man who gave his first name as John said he was shocked and felt badly for Bonaldi and his family.

"When a person who is almost 92-years-old doesn't show up for meals  you would think someone would  look in on them," he said. "I don't see how they, (the staff), got away with it and it is really up to the authorities to check this out."



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