Food Safety Inspectors Find ‘Dried Blood’ Inside Fridge in Dementia Care Home

A care home kitchen has been given a one-star rating after food hygiene inspectors found dried blood inside a fridge.

They also flagged several other safety issues at Willowmead Residential Home in Hatfield Peverel in Essex.

The home cares for us to 60 people, including some who have dementia.

The inspectors from Braintree District Council said the care home needed “major improvement” relating to food safety management and general improvements were needed relating to hygienic food handling.

Willowmead, which is part of the Gold Care Homes, was visited by inspectors in October 2022 and details of the report have been revealed through a Freedom of Information request.

The report details instances of “wrapped cooked ham being stored on a shelf in the raw meat fridge by sausages”, and inspectors noted that “the shelf was very dirty with what looked like dried blood”.

They also deemed the premises and equipment not to be in a good condition.

The report said: “There was a failure to control hazards including cross-contamination, storage of raw and ready to eat meat together, inadequate cleaning and disinfection, no soap at wash hand basin, dirty hand contact points and equipment, and inadequately trained staff.”

The report did, however, find that the care home had a “generally satisfactory” level of cleanliness and condition of facilities.

The most recent visit to Willowmead by inspectors from the Care Quality Commission, which assessed the care given to residents, was in August 2022 and returned a verdict that the home “required improvement”, specifically relating to safety and management.

A spokesperson for the care home said “the safety and wellbeing of residents is always our first priority”.

“We are very sorry that on this occasion, the high standards that we hold ourselves to were not met.

The issues highlighted in this report were addressed immediately as per the findings of subsequent visits with the Food Standards Agency. We continue to support our hard working staff as they sustain these improvements and look forward to regaining our five stars at our next inspection.”