RESIDENTS at a care home were woken in the middle of the night to find people rummaging through their belongings, a health inspector found.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission found problems with staffing levels and hygiene at Stafford Hall, in Thundersley Park Road, Benfleet.

Two people told inspectors they kept their doors locked at night after “they had been woken during the night to find another person in their room going through their belongings”.

Others raised concerns about staffing levels, with one resident saying: “The staff do their absolute best, but they don’t have enough staff.

“There is an extra member of staff here and there, but the staff are at stretching point. I really don’t know how they cope.”

After the two-day inspection, the commission found staffing arrangements were “not sufficient to keep people safe”.

Four staff cared for 32 residents in the morning and three in the afternoon and at night, with the deputy manager stepping in when required.

Inspectors intervened after seeing a resident take the handles of another person’s wheelchair and spin them round when no staff were around.

Soiled commodes, a dirty hand basin and a broken sluice were discovered by inspectors and fridges and freezers were “dirty and unhygienic”

on the first day of the inspection.

The care home manager ensured they were clean for the following day, but inspectors found infection control audits highlighted issues with equipment and hygiene.

In spite of low staffing levels, employees were praised for being “motivated, caring and well-trained” with six employees trained as dementia champions, leading dementia care in the home. The report found care plans were reviewed on a regular basis and medicines were managed correctly.

The home, run by Runwood Homes, cares for up to 40 people, with many suffering from dementia.

It has sent the commission a report outlining what action it is going to take to meet essential standards.

Logan Logeswaran, managing director of Runwood Homes, said: “Following the recent inspection, the home has provided a robust action plan to the Care Quality Commission.

“All areas of concern have been actioned, including a review of staffing.

“The company has a policy to review staffing on a regular basis as residents’ dependency levels change from day to day, and it is our normal practice to review dependency against staff numbers and skills.”