A Few Tips on Making The Chiswick Your Home from Home

Moving into residential care is a huge decision but, once taken, there are a few tips that we can pass on to help smooth the transition – particularly if you, or a relative, are joining us at The Chiswick.

You can use this as a check list to make you feel at home as quickly as possible and to deal with some of the practicalities of making the move.

The room

Think about what you might bring to make your personal space feel like a home from home. Although all of our rooms are furnished, there is space for a special piece of small furniture such as a favourite armchair or side table. Photos, books, a few ornaments, pictures or other treasured possessions can help transform a room into your very own comfortable haven.

You will have a TV, direct dial telephone and free WIFI included so if you have an iPad or digital tablet bring this too. It will be ideal for connecting you with your loved ones. A member of staff will help you get online if you need assistance.

All rooms have en-suite bathrooms with towels and bed linen included. Bring your favourite toiletries, if you have a preferred brand. Tops-ups can be provided on request, with a re-charge to your account, or you can arrange your own supplies.


Make sure you bring sufficient comfortable daytime clothes and night wear. These should include some lighter pieces for warmer days as well as heavier ones for outdoors as there will be trips out or you may wish to use our garden. Ideally, clothes should be easy to take on and off and be washable. They will need to withstand frequent washing and drying by our laundry service. 

Food and Drink

A full meals service is provided, either in our dining room or tray service in your own room.

Meals are important, nutritionally, socially and as something to look forward to and savour. Our in-house chef and his team take pride in producing delicious, healthy menus, with a choice of dishes to remind you of home.

Do please let us know your dietary preferences. Our care team will generally go through an eating plan with you, on arrival, to assess your needs and likes but we can usually meet all requirements, whether they are vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, halal, kosher, gluten-free, lactose-free etc

As we get older, our tastes and abilities to absorb certain nutrients change, so we remain flexible to work with you to ensure you receive the food, flavours and textures you need to enjoy your meals and gain the maximum nutritional benefits. Of course, there will be treats along the way. We all recognise the feel good factor that cake delivers!


Healthy minds are as important as healthy bodies. There is lots to do at The Chiswick, both inside and outside (if the weather permits).

We encourage people to take part and our activities programme is so diverse, we are sure there will be something to appeal to most tastes. If there is anything we don’t offer, that you enjoy, please let us know and we will try to accommodate it.

Group events that give our residents the chance to interact and socialise are high on the agenda but you will also have the opportunity for some quieter pastimes if you prefer. We have quiet areas and sitting rooms available as well as our much-loved garden in the warmer months.

There is an in-house physiotherapy gym where you can work with our physio team to improve or maintain your mobility and flexibility – or re-habilitate if you are recovering from an illness, injury or operation.

We also have an on-site hairdressers so you can always look your best.

We hope you will you will view moving to the The Chiswick as a positive experience and we will endeavour to make you feel at home as quickly as possible. We never forget that you have a choice.

A Special Thank You to Our Nursing Staff

Today (Wednesday 12 May) is International Nurses Day which commemorates the birth of Florence Nightingale and the outstanding contribution of nurses both in the UK and around the world.

Here, at The Chiswick, we want to add our sincere gratitude to our nursing and healthcare staff. Centre Director, Steve Winter, said:

“This year, International Nurses Day has particular significance. Nurses have been on the frontline during this pandemic and have had to face some real, never before seen, challenges.

The dedication and hard work from our clinical team has helped us to get through this difficult time. I know that our residents, their families and friends and the rest of the Chiswick ‘family’ would like to join me in extending our thanks and appreciation on this special day.”

Each of our Nurses has received our own special thank you of a ‘Goodie Bag’ of items, a nurse practice reflection diary, and opportunities to attend briefing sessions run by partners at Kingston University that will help and educate our team on ways that they can look after their own mental health with care and compassion – at a time that continues to be a real challenge to healthcare professionals across the world.”

Enjoying the Fruits of a Healthy Donation

Staff at The Chiswick have been kept nutritionally ‘powered’ to help fight the COVID 19 virus with the kind help and support of Fruitful Office Ltd.

The fruit delivery company has generously supplied us with weekly donations of fruit boxes that have been a real morale booster for our staff and helped to maintain their fitness and energy levels during this difficult time.

Eating fruit delivers a range of well documented benefits but employers who make fruit readily available for their workforce see additional advantages. For example, a recent survey showed that 81% of staff thought that having fresh fruit available improved their quality of life at work, 70% started eating more fruit and 45% were eating fewer unhealthy snacks.

The Chiswick team positively look forward to their weekly delivery, which has become a talking point and something that brings a ‘feel good’ factor. Centre Director, Steve Winter said: “The concept of fruit box delivery to each of our Departments and services where staff need an extra nutitional boost to keep them going is a great idea.”

“Our staff have enjoyed the kind donations from Fruitful Office Ltd and we are extremely grateful for their kindness during a time that has been, and continues to be, difficult for our workforce.”

The Fruitful Office Ltd:     https://www.fruitfuloffice.co.uk/

Off to the Flicks

Residents look forward to our regular film afternoons where they sit back in their social bubbles and enjoy re-watching a much-loved movie or something they may have missed first time around. The aftermath often prompts lively conversations as viewers share their opinions and highlights.

Some popular films include:

On Golden Pond, My Fair Lady, Singing in the Rain, Grumpy Old Men, Driving Miss Daisy, The Wizard of Oz, Billy Elliot, Mama Mia, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and anything with Laurel and Hardy.

Our former Cinema Room has not seen much use of it due to the restrictions arising from the Covid-19 pandemic. We are having this area revamped to provide a much better and more accessible space where residents and their families can go to enjoy a coffee and cake, herbal tea, and just spend time away from their bedrooms. Our film afternoons will remain available in the communal lounge areas at the nursing centre.

Educating Children to Respect the Elderly

Grandparents have plenty of life experience and wisdom to share, making them an obvious source of advice for the younger generation. Unfortunately, now that children live in an age where technology gives them all the answers, a gap is forming between young and old.

As a parent, you have a chance to bridge this gap by teaching your children the value of elders.

Here are a few tips on teaching your child to respect the elderly…

Set a good example

If your child grows up watching you show respect and courtesy towards older people, they’re more likely to follow suit. Behave in the way that you’d like to see your own child behave. Teach your child that if an adult is talking they should listen to them and not interrupt. Encourage your child to be helpful, polite and considerate when they are in the company of all adults.

Asking questions

Whether in a simple conversation or for a homework project, asking a grandparent questions can teach your child a lot about history and their family tree. Your child may be surprised to learn about certain events they have lived through or jobs they have done. Grandparents often have fascinating stories to tell about their own childhood. Asking questions will not only help your child to respect their elders, but it will also help to keep those important family stories alive.

Be helpful

Teach your child to be helpful and considerate towards the elderly. For example, hold the door open for them and save a seat for them to sit down. It is also helpful to make your child aware of certain disabilities that an elderly person may have. Remember some disabilities are not always visual, such as hearing loss and dementia, so your child may need to learn how to speak up and be patient.

Keep in touch

It’s important for children to develop their own respect for the elderly by listening and spending quality time with them. This has been particularly difficult over the last year due to the Coronavirus pandemic; however families and schools can encourage children to keep in touch with elderly friends and relatives via phone calls, video calls and writing letters.

Vital Vitamins For Good Health

At the Chiswick, a balanced nutritional diet is part of the personalised care plans we produce and deliver. We ensure that the food we serve is tasty, appealing and contains the right balance of vitamins and other health-promoting ingredients.

Here, we focus on two important vitamins for good health – B and D.

Vitamin B

Vitamin B, sometimes referred to as Vitamin B complex, is actually a group of eight vitamins that all perform a slightly different function within the body. You may have heard the names niacin, thiamine and riboflavin.  These are all B vitamins.

Overall, B vitamins are the building blocks and custodians of a healthy body. They have a direct impact on energy levels, brain function, and cell metabolism, helping to prevent infections. Some work to convert food into energy, others keep the skin, eyes and nervous system in good working order or assist in the production of red blood cells.

Provided that you eat a well-balanced diet, including whole grains and cereals, you should be getting all the Vitamin B that you need. However, as we get older it becomes harder to absorb Vitamin B12, which is found in meat, cod, salmon, milk, cheese, eggs and some fortified cereals, so supplements are sometimes recommended for those with an identified deficiency.

Vitamin D

Our bodies get the majority of the Vitamin D needs from the sunlight but we can also gain it through oily fish, eggs and breakfast cereals. Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. These nutrients are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. 

During the long, dark, winter months, and especially during lockdown when many of us have been unable to get out into the sun, diet is an important source of Vitamin D.

Here, our in-house chef, John shares his recipe for fish pie, which is rich in Vitamins B and D. Healthy but also delicious.

Fish Pie

For the mashed potatoes

1kg/2lb 4oz potatoes, cut into 5cm/2in chunks.
50g/2oz salted butter
6 tbsp double cream
Pinch salt and white pepper

For the filling

500ml/1 pint milk
250g/9oz fresh salmon
200g/7oz cod loin
100g/3½oz prawns
1 onion
1 bay leaf
2 leeks washed and chopped.
50g/2oz butter, plus 25g/1oz for dotting on top of the pie
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp plain flour
50g/2oz frozen peas
1 tbsp finely chopped dill


Preheat the oven to 190C/170C Fan/Gas 5.

Boil potatoes until tender. Drain and mash them with the salted butter, double cream and season with salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.

Heat the milk in a large pan, then add the fresh salmon and cod. Cut onion in half and make an incision in the onion and insert the bay leaf. Bring the milk to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 6–7 minutes.

Meanwhile, finely chop the remaining onion half and the leeks. Heat the butter with the olive oil in a small frying pan and gently fry the onion and leeks for 4–5 minutes, until softened but not browned.

Remove the fish from the pan and set aside to cool slightly. Keep the milk in the pan.

Add the flour to the leeks and stir well. Fry for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Gradually spoon in the milk from poaching the fish and stir it in well each time. Add all the milk in this way, and heat gently until the sauce has thickened. Taste the sauce for seasoning and add more salt or pepper if necessary.

Break the fish into chunks, feel for any bones and remove any skin, then fold the fish pieces into the sauce. Add prawns, chopped dill and frozen peas to the mixture.

Place an ovenproof pie dish onto a baking tray, pour the fish mixture into the bottom of the dish.

Carefully top with the cooled mashed potato. Use a fork to spread the mash over the pie and create a rough texture on top. Dot the pie with the remaining half of the butter and place in the oven for 25–30 minutes, or until golden-brown and bubbling.

Catering Manager goes the extra mile to help the homeless

John Wealleans, Head of Catering at The Chiswick, and his family have been spending their free time helping the homeless/rough sleepers in his home city of Chelmsford.

To date they have managed to raise a whopping £15,000 towards the cost of a fully equipped catering van that will enable them to extend their meals service to the homeless over a wider area, a much-needed service.

The management of The Chiswick Nursing Centre has weighed in with a generous donation in support of John, one of its longest-serving members of the staff team. “You have all been so supportive and generous towards getting the van, I am humbled by this as it’s so tough at the moment,” John said.

Whilst they wait for the van to arrive, John and his charitable colleagues have already been out and about in Chelmsford, during the evening, serving delicious Chinese-style food – chicken in black bean sauce with noodles or beef and okra with noodles. There was chocolate bread and butter pudding to follow and a tasty cake to take away. The Witham Hub kindly provided the ingredients.

STREETFOOD (the name of the group) stand alongside other outreach groups:

The ladies from the Community Church: supply drinks, breakfast bags and sandwiches.

‘Warm Hearts for Cold Hands’ ensures everyone has the clothes they needed,”

Meanwhile the fundraising must go on to cover the costs of running and maintaining the van once it arrives. John vows not to stop until they have helped as many homeless/rough sleepers as they can. No homeless/rough sleeper should go hungry. Awareness is a powerful tool.

If anyone would like to help, they can visit the STREETFOOD Facebook page to find out more about the project. Donations can be made via GoFundMe, or you can contact John via the Chiswick Nursing Centre on 0208 222 7800.

Coronavirus (COVID 19) – our guidance to service users and families – update

Dear Relatives, Friends and Next of Kin,

I am pleased to advise that we now have no further cases of confirmed Covid-19 at The Chiswick. Any Residents who were isolating as a result of having symptoms or having tested positive for the virus, have now completed their period of isolation. 

As a part of our rigorous efforts to maintain the current position we continue to test every employee every day / night that they work; and every resident once per week. 

At the present time, and as a part of the established outbreak cycle operated by Public Health England, the home will remain closed to new admissions and, I am afraid, to visitors.

Our normal exceptional visiting arrangements remain in place for those who are close to the end of life. I am, of course, aware of the announcements issued by the Minister for Health regarding re-establishing structured and regulated visits for Residents from a named visitor, and we very much welcome that initiative.

My team are currently working on ways to implement the new system from the soonest possible date. 

The Minister had suggested 8th March 2021 as a start date, however our own situation will be governed as well by the date when Public Health England agree that we can re-open following a 28 day cycle from the most recent outbreak of the virus in the home. 

Details of the new visiting scheme and start date will be publicised on this web page ahead of that event. 

If you have any specific questions or if I can assist further, please do feel free to contact me by email: Steve.winter@chiswicknursingcentre.co.uk  or  0208 222 7800. 

Steve WinterCentre Director

Retirement Village or Residential Care? Making the Right Choice

As people age,  their needs and ability to care for themselves change. It is difficult to accept that we,  or a close family member is no longer be able to remain in our own home but it is a decision that most of us will have to make at some stage. The good news is that there are excellent options available. Two of the most common are downsizing to a retirement village or moving into a care home.

Talking to your friends and family will help you make an informed choice and find the best solution for you. Take account of the fact that you may need extra assistance as time goes on. What do you need to keep your life stress-free without limiting the chance to try new experiences and interact with other like-minded people?

If you are in reasonably good health but your present property is too large or it has too many stairs, you want a little help with some daily chores or you recognise that this might soon become the case, an independent living accommodation such as The Vale is an ideal choice.

You can rent or buy your own luxurious apartment in which you can feel safe, secure and have familiar, cherished items around you without having to worry about maintenance responsibilities or safety risks. It is all taken care of.

Weekly help with some households chores, should you need it, is included as part of your package and this can be increased, if and when you require it. You will find comfort in living in a like-minded community and you’ll have peace of mind knowing that the right level of help and support is on hand. If you need assistance with personal care – or even, at a later stage, some nursing care input, in the confines of your own home; then this can be arranged.

Perhaps you or your relative are becoming frail, less mobile, experiencing frequent falls or your mental health/memory are deteriorating. A greater level of care may be required in which case moving to a residential care home may be the best option.

At the Chiswick Nursing Centre our highly skilled nursing and care team can assist with personal care such as bathing and dressing as well as attend to any medical needs. Delicious and nutritiously balanced meals are provided and there are daily, inspiring activities for both body and mind.

Perhaps you or your close family member are recovering from an operation or other hospital stay. A brief spell of convalescence or respite may be the best option here. Our nursing team and in-house physiotherapists are well qualified to aid rehabilitation and get patients as mobile as possible to return to their ‘normal’ lives.

Whichever residential option you are considering, do take time to speak to a member of staff about what is available and do visit when circumstances allow. For information on either The Vale or The Chiswick Nursing Centre, please call 07568 106258.

Enriching activities for good mental health and wellbeing

Keeping our Residents’ minds active, their spirits lifted and ensuring they can connect with their families and friends are always high on our agenda. It is especially the case during these difficult times.

Each week our Activity teams prepare a timetable of events and pastimes to enhance the daily lives of those in our care. At the moment, these take place in small, socially distanced groups, or in residents’ rooms giving people one-to-one attention, and in order to ensure that we can keep everyone as safe as possible at this time of Pandemic. At all times, suitable screens, PPE, sanitizer and other safety measures are appropriately in place.

Some organised events celebrate national occasions such as Burns Night, which takes place on 25th January. This year, we hosted two classical music teachers, who, having been pre-tested for COVID, donned PPE, to entertain our Residents. They toasted the socially distanced “lads and lassies” with the traditional tea and shortbread, accompanied by poetry from the classic Scottish poet Robbie Burns. This included a rendition of the ‘Wee, tim’rous beastie’ as well as traditional Scottish reels, all of which were thoroughly enjoyed.

Regular activities such as Knitter Knatter, arts and crafts and men’s groups continue, where possible, and with the relevant Covid-protection measures.

Video links have become an immeasurably important way for residents to keep in touch with their loved ones and much of our Activity Coordinators’ days are spent supporting them to do this. Seeing and being able to talk to relatives and friends in this way is very much appreciated but Residents also really enjoy the one-to-one time they have with the coordinators and other staff helping them navigate the technology.

We also provide video links to our local church so that those who wish to do so can continue with their pastoral and spiritual care.

Video links were much utilised at Christmas. Two local primary schools, St Peter’s and Wendell Park, recorded carols and posted them online. A local voluntary group also sent a link to carols, which were much appreciated, as were the delicious mince pies that the group additionally delivered to The Chiswick.

It’s Veganuary – a chance to try something new

January is Veganuary, a chance to shine the spotlight on vegan and vegetarian food. The campaign, supported by the vegan movement, has been running since 2014 and aims to persuade us to give up meat and eat vegan or vegetarian food for the 31 days of January. More than 1 million people in 192 countries take part and the residents  at The Chiswick Nursing Centre also have the chance to join them.

At The Chiswick, we cater for all culinary needs and vegetarian options are available at each and every mealtime. We recognise that mealtimes are really important to those who live in Nursing homes, both as a highlight in the day to look forward to and for us to ensure that those in our care eat good nutritious food.

Because we get to know and understand our residents’ likes and dislikes so well, we know what, when and how they like to eat. As we get older, our palates change and our appetite often diminishes. Those who are living with dementia or other health conditions may find it difficult to eat so our professional care staff are always on hand to support and encourage residents at mealtimes.

John Wealleans, our Catering Manager has been hard at work, as always, designing our menu, with some special vegetarian dishes on offer and of course, meat and fish eaters are also still catered for throughout the month.

Vegetarian options include: Mushroom Korma Curry, Leek & Potato Soup, Vegetable & Mushroom Risotto, Macaroni Cheese, Lentil & Spinach Bake and Egg Fried Noodles with Bean Shoots.

John shares his recipe for Tofu Stir Fry below, guaranteed to warm the winter evenings, in case readers want to try it at home.

Tofu stir fry

 1 block extra-firm tofu

2-3 tbsp cornflour

4 tbsp sunflower oil

For the sauce

3 tbsp rice vinegar

3 tbsp reduced salt soy sauce

1 tbsp vegan hoisin sauce 

1 tbsp soft brown sugar

1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • Cut the tofu into 2cm cubes and dry well on kitchen paper. Put the cornflour in a bowl and add the tofu cubes. Toss to coat, then add the remaining cornflour and toss again.
  • Rest for 5 minutes to become slightly tacky.
  • Mix together the rice vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce and brown sugar in a bowl. 
  • Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan over a high heat and cook the tofu for 1-2 minutes on each side until golden brown. drain on kitchen paper. 
  • add the sesame oil, ginger, garlic and chilli in a clean pan, then gently fry for about 1 minute before adding the sauce mixture with 150ml water. Bubble until you have a thick, glossy sauce.
  • Return the tofu to the pan and toss to coat all over. Serve on a bed of rice.
Coronavirus (COVID 19) - our guidance to service users and families. We are using this link to keep all service users and families as up to date as possible on this fast developing and rapidly changing situation.Please click here for our latest guidance.