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Coroner probing death of 91-year-old at assisted living facility

Patient and doctor.


The BC Coroner's Service has joined the investigations into the case of a 91-year-old man who died after being left alone for several days in his room in an assisted living facility in Summerland, B.C.

Alfredo Bonaldi died Dec. 7 after being taken to hospital after a family member went to the Summerland Seniors Village on Nov. 25 and discovered the elderly man in his bed suffering from several ailments.

Mr. Bonaldi had not appeared for meals in the dining room of the seniors' home for about four days in November, but none of the staff checked in on him.

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"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 Coroner's Service said Monday in statement.

It said the investigation will be concluded either by a coroner's report that will be made public, or by calling an inquest in which evidence would be heard by a jury.

The coroner's investigation follows probes announced by the Interior Health Authority and the provincial Ministry of Health before Mr. Bonaldi's death.

After the discovery of the elderly man in his bed, the authority appointed a clinical consultant at Summerland Village to work with management and staff to improve care.

In August, Mr. Bonaldi's wife, a dementia patient, fell and broke her femur in an incident in the bathtub. She died 15 days later.

An investigation into that case cleared the staff of wrongdoing.

Summerland Seniors Village, which offers assisted and independent living, is owned by the company Retirement Concepts. The company operates 15 seniors' homes in B.C., from Williams Lake to Vancouver Island, as well as one facility in Montreal.

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This is not the first time the Summerland seniors' home has come under scrutiny.

In 2006, three staff members resigned when explicit photos of residents were taken with cell phones and circulated. Later that year, a care aide worker was dismissed for rough treatment of residents.

In 2007, an employee pleaded guilty to stealing and using residents' credit cards.

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