By Tanya Fowles, Local Democracy Reporting Service
A Four Season’s Health Care facility has removed a Halloween window display after relatives attending to visit residents were left distressed at the “distasteful and insensitive” theme.
After concerns were raised, Dungannon Care Home staff removed this part of the display and stressed there was no intention to cause upset.
A number of relatives spoke out after seeing the images depicting a gravestone with RIP written on it, While understanding the Halloween symbols are colourful and welcome for residents, it was felt this particular image went too far in light of the high level of deaths in care facilities as a result of Covid-19.
A spokesperson said: “On arrival at Dungannon Care Home a relative was left in tears by the display. This was followed by a number of others reporting similar experiences and indeed an individual who lost a loved one in a different care home to Covid-19, caught sight of the image while walking by. He described becoming upset and felt more thought should have gone into the display. At present many things trigger sadness even by accident, but with some consideration, this instance could have been avoided.”
He added: “We are in the middle of a terrible pandemic which has been particularly prevalent in care homes and facilities. Many people are suffering at the loss of loved ones and to have a headstone with ‘RIP’ pictured in a predominate position in a care setting, was distasteful and insensitive.”
Another passer-by was Dungannon Town Councillor Clement Cuthbertson who within hours of seeing the imaging himself, was contacted by upset relatives and members of the public.
He said: “I was completely shocked to see this window display. It is so distasteful at a time when all care homes are fighting Covid-19. It is really disrespectful to many in the community that have lost loved ones to the virus in care home settings. I am at odds as to how the management of Four Seasons have let this happen.”
A spokesperson for the home said: “Each year the staff throughout all our homes put up decorations which reflect key calendar dates and these Halloween scenes are designed to keep our residents entertained and engaged. We are very proud of the efforts our colleagues make on behalf of residents. This particular item has been removed and it would never be our intention to cause distress or upset.”