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.

Delicious Christmas menus unveiled

The Chiswick Nursing Centre’s chef, John Wealleans, is planning to pull out all the stops to make this year’s Christmas and New Year’s menus something to really look forward to.

To get the festive celebrations rolling on Christmas Eve, there will be warm mince piesaccompanied by a glass of whisky or Baileys.

The main focus of dining is always at lunchtime at The Chiswick, with lighter suppers served in the evening, so that residents don’t go to bed feeling over full.

Christmas Day is, of course,  the centrepiece and the one that John really looks forward to preparing.

“My favourite is always the traditional Christmas Day lunch of roast turkey with all the trimmings, followed by Christmas pudding with brandy sauce or ice cream. Every resident really enjoys this.”

Vegetarians will be able to tuck into carrot and cashew nut roast, with all of the trimmings to match. Crackers and party hats will be plentiful as well, and every one of our guests receives a gift.

Boxing Day will see a choice of roast chicken, poached salmon or lentil cake with a delicious baked chocolate and orange cheesecake for dessert.

Tea and treats are served every afternoon but to keep the festive spirit going between Christmas and New Year, there will also be a glass of Port and Stilton afternoon on 28th December.

New Year’s Eve lunch will feature beef cooked in a rich horseradish sauce as the main course or a bean and red wine casserole for non-meat eaters.

With most tucked up in bed before midnight, residents will toast the New Year on 1st January with a glass of sparkling wine. Stilton and broccoli soup will follow and the main course being chicken in a cream and mushroom sauce. Filled peppers is the vegetarian option.

Families and friends are welcome to visit their relatives over the festive period – with full Covid precautions in place, including our fast track resulting test service to ensure the highest levels of safety as we see in The New Year.  John will ensure that a slice of delicious Christmas cake, Yule log or luxury biscuit is available to welcome them.

John concludes: “We really treat residents at Christmas time by creating special dishes that are memorable, festive and taste delicious. 2020 has been a difficult year, so we’ll doing our utmost to make our menus as enjoyable as we possibly can.”

Joy and comfort as families meet again

Our new Covid testing routine, which delivers results in 30 minutes, continues to enable families to be re-united and attract the attention of the British and overseas media.

Reuters news agency was on hand to capture the moments when 84 year-old Bob Underhill was tested and then able to visit his wife, Patricia, without being behind a plastic screen, for the first time in nearly a year. Patricia has Alzheimer’s Disease and moved to the Chiswick Nursing Centre in March, after breaking her hip. Sadly the firsttLockdown then hit, keeping Bob apart from his beloved wife. 

“I’ve only seen her twice since March,” Bob said. “I did come and see her last Friday through the partitions, which is not very pleasant: it is not the same being three metres apart.”

Suitably tested, declared virus-free and both dressed in protective equipment, Bob and Patricia were, at last, able to enjoy a close visit and spend time together.

Also delighted to see each other close up were Theresa Snelling and her daughter, Serena. “It feels great,” said Theresa, who has been with us since February. 

Serena was Theresa’s primary carer before she moved into the Chiswick, so the two are very close “It’s been really challenging not being able to see her. We love each other very much. It feels really good and it feels like a long time coming,” said a smiling Serena after their reunion.

Centre Director, Steve Winter admits that the new testing procedures have meant extra work for staff, who have already endured several long, hard months to protect residents from the virus, but believes the benefits are worth it. “You only have to look at the expressions on the faces of our residents and their loved ones as they are close for the first time in months, to see how much it means to them. It’s been a real boost for everyone’s morale and mental wellbeing, including our hard-working team here.”

Next, we wait, with fingers crossed, for the newly-approved vaccine, with Nursing and Care homes, high up on the priority list for vaccinations.

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

Dear relatives, friends, families:

As many of you will have seen from recent press and news coverage; The Chiswick Nursing Centre recently became the very first Nursing Home in London to access and utilise Lateral Flow Testing (LFT Tests) in the fight to ensure that visits to our Residents can be made as safely as possible.

These tests produce a result within 30 Minutes and we have now extended their use to all visitors to the Nursing Centre.

This also means that we can now facilitate relatives and others to visit those of our residents who are too ill to attend the Ground floor visiting area.

I am afraid that at the present time – and in line with guidance from Public Health Hammersmith and Fulham – we can only:

  • Facilitate 1 named / consistent visitor to each resident
  • Facilitate a maximum of 4 visits per day to our whole resident group – between Mondays and Fridays each week.

Please be assured that I am already in discussion with the Local Authorities to see how and when we can expand and make these areas of visiting more flexible, yet safe.

We are pleased to advise that following support from Public Health Hammersmith and Fulham – we have been able to make additional visit slots available between 18/12/20 and 27/12/20. This includes weekend visits.

Please book slots by contacting our reception as normal and as per our Policy which is shown below.

Click here to read the visiting guide

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Temporary Visiting Policy

Please see the links shown here for the greater details of how those visits can be booked and managed, as well as a copy of our formal Visitor Policy – as required by The Care Quality Commission.

If you have any questions or queries – I am happy to hear from you by email:


The Chiswick’s COVID Prevention Measures Featured on TV

The Chiswick has been featured on both the ITV and BBC News programmes this week because of its approach towards being Covid-safe and secure, including a new testing regime that will, hopefully, allow Residents to have family visitors in time for Christmas.

The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham,  has been chosen as the first of 25 London councils to roll out ‘lateral flow’ tests. These are simple swab tests that return results within 30 minutes. This means that visitors, as well as residents and staff, can be tested and assessed quickly, as a means of rapidly preventing the risk of transmission to others.

At the moment, it takes anything up to two days to obtain results from existing Covid tests which are sent to an external lab for processing. ‘Lateral flow’ kits will enable visitors to be tested when they arrive for pre booked visits with our Residents. Staff at The Chiswick are amongst the first to have already taken the tests and Operations Director – Steve Winter, welcomes the move: 

“At the moment, visitors have to be separated from our Residents with a plastic screen. That will be dispensed with because if we know the two parties are negative, we can get rid of the plastic screens and have a much more normal ‘family’ visit.”


Carer enters the ‘fog tunnel’ to help to neutralise viruses

The Chiswick is also working to keep one step ahead of the virus with the installation of an innovative £12,000 ‘fog tunnel’. This sprays electrolysed water / fog on all visitors, including staff, as they enter the premises to neutralise all viruses. The Centre has also invested in other innovative Infection, Prevention and Control measures; including Virucidal ‘Smoke Bombs’ which also help to minimise the overall risks prevented by Covid-19.

Not Bored with Board Games

Board games have seen a resurgence in popularity during lockdown as a fun and stimulating way to pass a few enjoyable hours.

Here at the Chiswick, they have been a boon as the Covid rules allow us to play in our designated bubbles. We see smiles appear as the games come out but we also detect a distinct competitive edge.

Our games sessions are a great way to have a bit of fun but they can also play a useful role in keeping the mind active – especially for those residents who have a degree of memory loss. Familiar games can be a useful reminder of times when they played with their families and friends in the past. They frequently surprise us with what they remember.

If you haven’t played board games in a while, now is the time to retrieve them from the loft or cupboard and dust them off. You may be surprised at how much fun they can be and how they bring families and generations together – even if you live under the same roof.

Giant Scrabble

We have a large scrabble board and tiles here to make it easier  for players to see and handle. Searching for a word in Scrabble has obvious mind-stimulating benefits but keeping score is also a good way to challenge the brain.

Snakes & Ladders

The ups and downs are fun, handling the counters is good for dexterity and counting the squares is beneficial for the brain in those who may be living with dementia.


Draughts stimulates the mind as you keep tabs on your opponent and work out your own strategy. On a simpler level, just counting the squares and moving the pieces can be a useful memory prompt. Our tough, high-quality wooden draughts set has lovely, chunky pieces that are easy to grip and manoeuvre around the board.


Many elderly people like to play traditional card games such as whist or rummy. Normal playing cards can be difficult to see, so we have large print cards available. They have clear, bold print, are easy to handle, durable and wipe-clean. They enable residents who have some degree of sight loss to play, with favourite games being twist, rummy and patience.

Immune-boosting Superfoods for Winter

We all recognise the benefits of healthy eating and here, at the Chiswick Nursing Centre, we take great pride in making sure that all of our meals and menu choices offer a full range of nutritionally balanced ingredients which will promote living well.

Many of our residents are frail and require as much ‘boost’ as a healthy balanced diet can provide. This is particularly true in the winter months when our immune systems may be at slightly more reduced levels than they are during the spring and summer.

Our professionally qualified and experienced chef ensures that everyone receives the correct balance of nutrients to encourage good health. In addition we are supported by a professional nutritionist who ensures that our wide variety of menu options all offer the best nutritional content to Residents. Foods containing Vitamins A (spinach, carrots, butternut squash, tuna) C (broccoli, peppers, citrus fruits) D (oily fish), and E (nuts, avocado, spinach) are known to help boost immunity and we include these in our meal offerings.

All of us, however, no matter what our age, can benefit by incorporating some of the following foods in our diets.

  • Broccoli and spinach. Our catering team includes them in daily made, fresh soups made in our kitchen.
  • Citrus fruits, including oranges, which are packed full of immune system-boosting vitamin C. We have a range of fruit juices or whole fruits available at breakfast. Bananas offer improved Potasium levels which improve brain processing capacity.
  • Eggs. These protein-rich foods are served at breakfast. Scrambled is always popular – or our evening omellete menu provides fresh made choices.
  • Yogurt & probiotics – contain a range of ‘good’ bacteria that aid digestion and the gut ‘biome’. They can also be beneficial to some mental health conditions, the heart and some allergies.

Chiswick residents who have a particular health and dietary need, will have meals specially tailored and prepared for them by our catering manager to ensure that all their requirements are met.

We also work hard to keep our staff as fit and healthy as possible. Our ongoing partnership with “The Fruitful Office” (www.fruitfuloffice.co.uk) – helps us to ensure that our staff get their vitamins and nutritional content, as well as giving them a healthy snack that boosts their energy.

Creating a Home from Home

If you, or a family member, are due to join us as a resident at The Chiswick Nursing Centre, you might have some understandable concerns about what awaits you and what your immediate surroundings might be like.

Your own room can become your home from home. All of our bedrooms are single occupancy with en-suite facilities and designed to care for clients in a safe and friendly environment.

We encourage everyone to personalise their rooms and make them as comfortable as possible with some little reminders of home. This is especially important for those with dementia. Having something familiar close by can bring enormous benefit and solace. For this reason, we afford space for a small piece of favourite furniture – perhaps a comfy chair, bedside table or cabinet.

Photos of relatives and friends and a few cherished ornaments can also provide reassurance. Additionally, they offer a focal point for staff to engage with the residents and encourage them to talk about their home lives and memories. Our Maintenance team have become expert ‘picture hangers’ and ‘shelf fitters’!

Some people are also soothed by a familiar piece of music or a favourite audio book. A radio or CD player can work wonders. If you have joined the ‘Brave new world’ of technology and wish to continue using your Laptop / iPad or even Alexa system – then our free WiFi service will support all of those for you.

With sight and sound addressed, how about scent? A room diffuser with a fragrance from home, or one that evokes happy memories, can enhance surroundings and create a sense of wellbeing.

All of these are simple touches but ones that can go a long way to make you feel right at home.

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.