B.C. Care Home Unaware 91-Year-Old Lay Dying In Suite

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A Summerland, B.C. senior home is under investigation after a 91-year-old man was not attended to by staff for several days. (Alamy) | Alamy

An Okanagan family is outraged that staff at an independent/assisted living facility in Summerland, B.C., didn't realize their 91-year-old father lay dying in his suite.

Alfredo Bonaldi is in hospital in serious condition with renal failure, staph infection, blood poisoning and possibly salmonella poisoning.

His daughter, Patricia McCoy said he's on intense short-term dialysis with the hope his kidneys will start working. At his age, she says long-term dialysis isn't an option.

A family member discovered Bonaldi on his deathbed Sunday morning, after he had not left his suite for several days.

"My husband went down there to check on him, and when he opened up the door, the odour that came out of there, he thought he was gone already," said daughter Edi Inglis.

The family had supper with Bonaldi on Wednesday, Nov. 21. His daughters say he appeared fine, happy and healthy as usual.

When one of them called the next day and couldn't reach him, they thought nothing of it because he was very active.

"My father never sat in his room, that's why if we phoned, we were never alarmed because he was never in his room except for really early morning and later at night," said daughter Patricia McCoy.

Missed meals, staff didn't check in

They called Saturday, two days later, but it was at the same time of day and figured he was at the facility's bistro.

Finally on Sunday, Inglis said she began to worry and made a point of calling at breakfast when she knew her father would be in his room. She said she called repeatedly before sending her husband to check on him.

The family says they know he took his medication Wednesday night, but didn't show up for any meals and believes he didn't leave his suite from the time they left until Sunday morning when he was found.

Bonaldi was living in an independent/assisted living suite at Summerland Seniors Village.

He was responsible for his own medications, grooming, bathing and preparing his own breakfast. Lunch and supper are provided daily.

Health authority, ministry investigating

Now, the family wants to know why no one at the care facility noticed he hadn't left his room, and didn't check on Bonaldi.

Tony Baena, vice-president of Retirement Concepts, the company that runs the care facility, says staff did interact with Bonaldi, in a common area, two days before he was found.

But he says when Bonaldi didn't show up for his meals, staff should have checked on him.

"There's no doubt that something has gone awry here, because he was not seen for whatever number of days and he ended up in his room, and having not had anything to eat, so obviously something did happen here that is not acceptable to us," he said.

The Interior Health Authority and the provincial health ministry are both investigating the incident, as is Retirement Concepts.

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