ELDERLY residents are at risk of falling down the stairs at a care home, a damning report has revealed.

Bosses at the Stafford Hall care home in Benfleet have been slammed by the care quality commission and has been rated as “requires improvement.”

The home, on Thundersley Park Road, was found to be heavily understaffed.

A stair gate had been fitted at the bottom of the stairs to stop elderly residents with dementia climbing the steps.

In one case, a resident had reached the first floor, before falling back down the stairs.

The inspection found that on two occasions, the stair gate had been left open.

A spokesman from Runwood Homes, who run the care home, said: “The team at Stafford Hall thoroughly understands the improvements outlined in the recent inspection, and will immediately begin implementing a robust plan to develop and enhance the service, in order to reach and maintain the high standards that we, and others, would normally expect.

“Working closely with the CQC, we are confident that work to improve the service will progress rapidly, with significant improvements.”

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During the inspection, one person was choking on their lunch, with staff intervening to clear their airway.

The elderly resident had previously said they needed softer food to eat due to not having dentures.

The spokesman from Runwood Homes added: “We are pleased to share that Stafford Hall remains ‘Good’ in the following three areas: effective, caring and responsive.

“We look forward to welcoming the regulators back to Stafford Hall, and extend our thanks to the whole staffing team for their ongoing support for our residents.”

The care home was unable to maintain the correct level of staff on each shift.

The report said: “One issue highlighted was there was no kitchen staff after 3pm. Which meant a member of support staff would need to be taken away from care to provide the evening meal service and clear up. Staff told us this caused pressure on them when they were already working a member of staff down.”