A CARE home has been ordered to improve after leaving elderly residents unwashed because of staff shortages.

Chaplin Lodge, in Nevendon Road, Wickford has been issued the order by healthcare watchdog the Care Quality Commission.

Inspectors found that residents felt unsafe because of insufficient staffing levels.

The report states: “People told us staffing levels did not always meet their needs and left them feeling unsafe at times.

“One person told us: ‘Weekends are mayhem here, never enough staff, I think they just go home sometimes’.

“A second person told us: ‘There’s never enough staff, never.

“At night there’s no staff in the lounge.”

The report added: “Relatives stated there were insufficient staff to meet people’s needs and they were concerned about staffing levels.

“Staff told us there were insufficient staff available to meet people’s needs.

“One staff member said: ‘The staff rosters look good but staffing levels are always short.’

“When asked how this impacted on people living at Chaplin Lodge, staff stated people did not always have their personal care and comfort needs met in a timely manner or have the opportunity to be supported to have regular baths or showers.

“We observed communal lounge areas were not always staffed for between ten to 15 minutes and people’s call alarm facilities were not always answered promptly.

“The manager confirmed staff members response times when they answered people’s call alarms were not monitored.”

The report continued: “We saw a member of staff offer and provide popcorn and pretzels to one person who was at risk of choking.”

A spokesperson for the home said: “We are understandably disappointed that the home hasn’t met our high standards, and we have already put in place a robust action plan to address the points raised in the report. The inspection took place in December last year, and in January we appointed a new home manager, who has been working with the staff to ensure all the action points are addressed.”