The Joy of Music

Music plays an important role in our lives. Why else would a popular radio programme run for so many years and be based on a famous person’s favourite tunes?

Without doubt, music has the ability to boost or change our mood, re-awaken memories and have a significant and lasting effect on our emotions.

Here at the Chiswick, the strains of music will often be heard percolating along the corridors – whether from a resident’s radio, a good, old, group sing-song, as the background to some other form of activity or just as an all-round mood enhancer..

Research shows that music can prompt a real reaction in those who have Alheizmer’s and dementia. On occasions, it can help to restore some cognitive functions in dementia patients as well as transport them to key events in their life, no matter how far in the past. This can have significant benefits on a resident’s mental health and happiness.

It is not unusual for those whose memory seems to have deserted them to suddenly recall the words to and sing along to a song that might appear to have been forgotten. And even for those for whom words have become difficult, we sometimes delight in seeing some foot tapping, swaying in time to the music or a smile of recognition.

So, let the music play on.

Christmas Delights Unveiled

It is certain that no appetite will go un-catered for over Christmas as chef, John Weallens, unveils his comprehensive festive menu.

Traditions will be observed at 3.00 p.m. on Christmas Eve when festivities get underway with a warm mince pie accompanied by a glass of whisky or Baileys.

A breakfast of cereal or porridge, toast and marmalade on Christmas Day should leave room for the main event. Tomato soup with cream and fresh basil will be followed by roast turkey and all the trimmings – or carrot and cashew nut loaf as a vegetarian option. Christmas pudding with brandy sauce or ice cream finishes the meal.

For those who still have room, there will be mince pies and sherry for tea. A light supper of soup with a choice of cold meats, salad or sandwiches will ensure that no-one goes to bed hungry.

Soft drinks and wine will also be available.

Main courses for Boxing Day lunch will be a choice of roast chicken with rosemary, poached salmon or lentil loaf followed by a delicious sounding baked orange and chocolate cake.

John says: “I have been producing the Christmas menus at the Chiswick Nursing Centre ever since the doors opened so I think I have a pretty good take on what our residents like to see on their plates. On the whole, it’s pretty traditional when it comes to Christmas. It is my favourite time of the year and I love to see people tuck in and enjoy what we have made for them.”

Everyone can rest assured that not only will the food be delicious and nutritious,  it will be produced with scrupulous attention to hygiene and safety.  This year we are having to take extra measures to manage the ‘dreaded COVID’ issues which affect the whole of London. John, who provides training to all staff in Food & Hygiene and is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, was recently re-awarded a Level 5 Food Hygiene Rating (the highest achievable) from the Food Standards Agency, and our team are continuing to promote social distancing wherever required.  

Christmas Is Coming

Christmas preparations at the Chiswick are in full swing and there will be scarcely time to draw breath, either for residents or staff, between now and the New Year.

Decorations traditionally go up here during the 2nd week in December so rooms and corridors will all have a festive feel. 

The annual Christmas Panto takes place on 7th December. Plans are also well advanced for each floor to have its own socially distanced party as the big day approaches.

In between times there will be Christmas themed quizzes, carol singing, an Xmas pudding race, concert, pamper session, table tennis, art and a special Christmas service.

By the time Christmas Eve comes around, most will be looking forward to taking it a bit easier and tucking in to our delicious Christmas menu.

No Need to Wait Long for Physio

It is widely reported in the media that there are long delays in accessing treatment and medical care such as physiotherapy. Indeed, since the pandemic, such is the backlog, exacerbated by the shortage of specialist NHS staff, that some patients are not receiving the rehabilitation or physio they need following surgery, or as the result of chronic medical conditions.

Long waiting times or no treatment can have a detrimental effect on one’s mental health and wellbeing. No-one wants to suffer unnecessary chronic pain or reduced mobility. 

The Chiswick Nursing Centre can provide this rehabilitation, either as an inpatient or outpatient. It offers an up-to-date Physio Gym staffed by highly skilled physiotherapists and access to an occupational therapist, where required. 

Our specialist nurse can also provide a full, free assessment of current care needs for any prospective patient. 

Unlike the NHS – there is no waiting list so book an appointment today by contacting our main reception team on 0208 222 7800 or emailing : enquiries@chiswicknursingcentre.co.uk

Bird Club

A bird table has been donated to Chiswick Nursing Centre. It is well documented that a connection to nature have been beneficial to good mental health and feelings of well being. The purpose of the bird table is to attract local birds and for observation of what birds are visiting the table . It provides an opportunity for residents to become engaged with the birds. Photos can be taken, and the species and habits of the birds can be discussed. It is also a good method of engaging with residents who are living with dementia. Some residents may miss their gardens at home and this project is a good memory trigger. Residents can be taken into the garden to see if any birds are feeding. This leads to mind stimulating discussion of the natural life of Chiswick.

Our Activities coordinator team run many such events – from bird watching to poetry to Zumba dancing and  chair based yoga.

Life at The Chiswick is never boring…

We Remember

Sunday 14th November is Remembrance Day (although 11th November is officially Armistice Day) when many of us will stop to think on the sacrifice made by so many in conflicts across the world.

For our residents, it will be a time for personal reflection… on times past, those they may have lost during the dark days of war but also some of the happy times they shared with friends and loved ones. Anniversaries, such as this, are often a prompt for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s to talk about their experiences.

We will give all of our residents the time and space to remember but also be close by to provide comfort and support.

Those who wish to do so will be able to watch the Remembrance Service on TV. There will be poppies ‘a plenty, proudly displayed, possibly even a few medals. And we are sure that tea and cake will feature heavily.

Shining a Light

As we build up to Guy Fawkes Night, with its bonfires and fireworks, Our Hindu residents  will, this week, celebrate Diwali.

This festival is actually spread over five days but it is the third day (4 November in 2021) that is marked with fireworks but also with traditional lights, candles and lanterns (diyas) around the home. The festival is in celebration of Laxmi, the Goddess of Prosperity.

Families and friends dress colourfully and exchange small gifts, including sweets and dried fruits. At The Chiswick Nursing Centre – our activities team are leading a range of celebrations, parties and sweet treats that will take the opportunity to celebrate both Guy Fawkes Night and Diwali.

 The Nursing Centre celebrates a wide range of cultural and festive events across the year and the opportunity to spread good cheer is always welcomed.

Stop pressure ulcers

Pressure ulcers, pressure sores or bed sores as they are more widely known, sound like an academic subject for debate within the medical world. We should pay heed however, as they are extremely common, unpleasant, painful and in the worst case, can be life limiting. According to the NHS, around 700,000 people in the UK develop pressure sores each year with about 95% of them preventable. It costs an estimated £4,000 per person to treat them.

The European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel and the Tissue Viability Society in the UK are both active in trying to raise awareness about pressure ulcers amongst the general public. 

A pressure ulcer is a localised injury to the skin and/or underlying tissue, usually over a bony prominence. They tend to occur in less mobile people, so extended periods in bed, seated in a chair or wheelchair are likely scenarios for them to take hold. They are more common in older age because we move around less. As our rate of activity decreases, blood circulation becomes less efficient and this can affect the skin’s ability to heal quickly. It is not surprising, therefore, that those in residential or hospital care are some of the most vulnerable to pressure ulcers.

All nursing and senior care staff at The Chiswick are trained and competent in the key techniques associated with avoidance of pressure wounds and there are strict protocols to follow.

Sometimes residents who join us have already acquired pressure ulcers – perhaps they have had a stay in hospital, been living with relatives or in their own homes. Where wounds have been acquired outside of the nursing centre, we work with qualified Tissue Viability Nurses to promote healing and recovery. Good diet and nutrition are key components, as is regular mobility, or assisted movement for those who are nursed in bed.

If you are interested in learning more about preventing pressure sores – perhaps you are caring for someone at home, this short information film might help you. https://youtu.be/FaT1KA9hXWQ

Food hygiene matters:

In a world where the importance of high hygiene standards is ever important, The Chiswick Nursing Centre was pleased to be reinspected recently by Hammersmith and Fulham Environmental Health Team and their food safety inspectors.

An unannounced inspection is a sure way to ensure high standards are maintained – and hour Head Chef, John Wealleans was as ready as ever to welcome the inspectors into his kitchen.Finding that everything was clean, well maintained, well managed from a food safety and hygiene perspective, the inspectors were able to re-issue and maintain the current 5 star award that The Chiswick is proud to have retained for the past 5 years.

Centre Director, Steve Winter, commented:

“John and his team have exceptionally high standards and a commitment to ensuring that our food service to Residents is at the highest levels of hygiene. It is a part of our overall commitment to delivery of the best care and nursing service in town”

Maintaining a Healthy Mind

October 10 is World Mental Health Day where the aim is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world.

‘Tea and Talk’ is one of the initiatives promoted by the Mental Health Foundation and here, at The Chiswick, we have always found that a natter over a cuppa works wonders for our residents. You can be assured that there will definitely be a brew or two and some delicious baked treats to enjoy come Sunday 10 October. 

Encouraging people to communicate and maintain relationships is an extremely important pillar of good mental health. We also seek to achieve this through our comprehensive programme of specially tailored activities designed to stimulate both mind and body. 

Our staff team is highly trained to treat residents with dignity, care and respect and that also means taking time to listen them.

Of course, good mental health not only applies to those in our care, we have to look after our workforce too. There are regular opportunities for CNC employees to meet with their line managers to air any concerns they might have or talk over a problem We also hold frequent group meetings to provide feedback and exchange ideas. Our last CQC (Care Quality Commission) Inspection Report stated that our staff felt supported and listened to in their roles.

Ours is a busy and sometimes, pressured, environment but we try our best to acknowledge when a member of staff has performed particularly well or gone that extra mile. You only have to be present at mealtimes or activities, however, to witness the interaction between them and those in their care to see that they delight as much in our residents’ enjoyment as the residents themselves. That makes for a healthy environment for everyone.

Unpaid Carers Forum

The Chiswick Nursing Centre has initiated an unpaid carers forum which will be hosted by Sabina Kelly RN Ba(Hons) Bsc(Hons) – an experienced matron and care planner. Attendees can get advice and support, meet other people in similar situations and also benefit from a telephone support service when needed.

Come along on Mondays 10.15am -12noon for a cup of coffee and learn what is on offer – free of charge and no obligation. The forum is a space where you can relax and have a bit of important time off for yourself to plan your future and the care needs of your loved one.

For more details contact Sabina Kelly 07976 287189 or email Sabinakelly73@googlemail.com

Celebrating Arts in Care Homes

The National Activity Providers Association (NAPA) has designated 24 September as National Day of Arts in Care Homes.

This annual event celebrates the inspiring work using the arts and creativity to support health and wellbeing in care settings. It invites care homes to share their residents’ artistic achievements online and there will be a number of special events taking place around the country.

A wide-ranging programme of physically and mentally stimulating activities is at the heart of our social care at the Chiswick. There is always something to do and every ‘floor’ has its own weekly programme of events, many of them with a leaning towards the creative arts. In non-Covid times, this also includes visits to the theatre, music events and galleries as well as in-house entertainment by external artists and performers.

It is widely known that active minds and bodies stay well for longer and no-one can underestimate the benefits that a shared smile, laugh and sense of achievement can bring. Some of our residents have even discovered hitherto unknown creative talents.

Painting, drawing, knitting, felt making, egg decoration, paper flower making, baking, and cake decorating are just some of the pastimes that residents have taken to with gusto over recent months. We hope that we are able to resume our usual full programme in the near future.

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.