Seafront care home slammed over ‘significant’ fire risks and ‘unidentified bruising’

Blenheim House care home, in Walton-on-the-Naze, was inspected by the Care Quality Commission and gi

Blenheim House care home, in Walton-on-the-Naze, was inspected by the Care Quality Commission and given an 'inadequate' rating Picture: GOOGLE MAPS - Credit: GOOGLE MAPS

A care home on the north Essex coast is now in special measures after health inspectors raised serious concerns about safety and cleanliness.

Blenheim House, in Walton-on-the-Naze, has been given the lowest possible rating of ‘inadequate’ following a visit from Care Quality Commission experts in March.

Run by Regal Care Trading Ltd, the home in Kirby Road provides personal care for up to 60 older people, some of whom have dementia.

Bosses admitted the home was experiencing some difficulties at the time and standards had “fallen below what they would expect”.

Since then, they said, “significant improvements” have already been made.

In a report published online after their visit, inspectors found:

• Fire safety was “poorly assessed and managed” – the home had damaged electric plugs and wiring, and airing cupboards full of bedding were next to hot pipes.

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• Staff had not consistently reported unidentified bruising and skin tears. For example, inspectors saw one person had a significant bruise on their face. Because staff failed to report this, there had been no investigation, and no safeguarding referral made. However, the manager reported the incident to Essex County Council (ECC)’s safeguarding team immediately when inspectors raised concerns.

• The CQC found strong odours in parts of the home, toilet areas were unclean and underwear had been left in communal bathrooms. Mattresses were also found to be heavily stained. People were left in an unhygienic and undignified manner before they were supported to go to the toilet, inspectors added.

• Use of equipment was found to be unsafe, with two people’s beds having the wrong size fitted mattresses and incompatible bed rails, which the CQC said exposed them to the risk of getting trapped or suffocating.

However, inspectors did say the home had worked well with ECC and the CQC in an “open and honest way” to make improvements following the inspection.

The home, which was considered ‘good’ at a previous visit in July 2017, is now in special measures and has six months to turn things around.

A spokesman for Regal Care said: “We acknowledge that, at the time of the CQC inspection in March 2020, Blenheim House was experiencing some difficulties and standards at the home fell below what we would expect.

“However, since that time, we have employed a new experienced manager and have been working closely with CQC and ECC to bring about improvements in the standard of care including through the recruitment of new staff, training, refurbishment of the home and the provision of new equipment.

“We are confident this has already led to significant improvements, and are working hard to maintain and improve these standards further for the benefit of our residents.”

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