Dungannon care home’s Halloween graveyard display removed following complaints

Dungannon care home’s Halloween graveyard display removed following complaints

A CARE home in Northern Ireland has taken down a Halloween display featuring a gravestone with “RIP” written on it, following complaints from visiting relatives.

Staff at Dungannon Care Home on Killyman Road have now removed the offending section of the display after it was branded "distasteful and insensitive" by distressed visitors.

The care home, which is operated by Four Seasons Health Care, has also issued a statement stressing there was no intention to cause upset.

It comes after a number of relatives spoke out about the Halloween display.

A spokesperson revealed to the BBC's Local Democracy Reporting Service that "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," they said.

"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."

The spokesperson continued: "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 predominant position in a care setting, was distasteful and insensitive."

Dungannon councillor Clement Cuthbertson was among those to speak out against the display, having been contacted by several upset relatives and members of the public.

"I was completely shocked to see this window display," he said.

"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 Dungannon Care Home responding to the criticism 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."