“We spent over two hours outside the window, watching her die alone. Not one member of staff went into that room with my mother, to check to see how long she was going to last"
Christine Brohan’s mother Kathleen was one of 24 residents who died at CareChoice nursing home in Ballynoe between February 1st and 11th last year.
Speaking to RedFM News, Christine emotionally recalled the night she lost her beloved mum.
“We spent over two hours outside the window, watching her die alone. Not one member of staff went into that room with my mother, to check to see how long she was going to last.
“We could barely make out with all the rain lashing off the windows that her chest was getting slower - that is how we realised she was gone.
“We had to go and tell them, we think she is dead, the director of nursing home at the time went into the room with my mother, pulled the curtains, then opened the curtains and... It is something that is never going to leave me.”
She is one of many families who lost their loved ones in similar circumstances.
In a separate incident, Pat Coyle lost his wife Veronica on Feb 8th, 2021, after she contracted Covid and said he was completely kept out of the loop.
“Phone calls weren’t answered, we were emailing, and promised phone calls weren’t returned. Other families were experiencing the same thing. Then we got a phone call out of the blue, after being told she was doing well, to come for the final visit, it was a bolt out of the blue,” he explained.
Pat, Christine, and other members of The Bereaved Families of Residents at Ballynoe Nursing Home Group are now calling for a public inquiry into how these deaths were handled.
“It is ruining people’s lives, families’ lives. It has taken my life over for a full year and I won’t get my life back until I get the answers, I need to know,” Christine said.
Pat added: “It has been a struggle and we have not gotten any help from the Government.
“We are trying to come to terms with what happened there. Too many people died across Ireland and future residents need to know they will be taken care of properly, so a public enquiry is needed. Some of the nursing homes there need to be investigated thoroughly.”
In a statement last year, CareChoice Chief Executive Gerry Moore extended “sincere condolences to every family member and friend of our residents who have passed during this very significant Covid-19 outbreak in our Ballynoe nursing home.”
“We fully accept that at times our communications and interactions with the families was not of our usual standard, and we would like to acknowledge the hurt this has caused and apologise to the families,” he added.