Friday, 8 March 2013

Introduction to the Margaret Thatcher Infirmary - by Sian Tomlin

By now you may have realised that there are many more facets to the Royal Hospital Chelsea than initially meet the eye. A Chelsea Pensioner's life is active and varied, and we believe that just because growing old sometimes means becoming less able in body and mind, it shouldn't mean that our pensioners stop living life to the full. First occupied on 5th January 2009, the Margaret Thatcher Infirmary exists in order to foster this philosophy as a promise for every Chelsea Pensioner as they grow older.

Our remit is primarily to provide quality care and nursing home services to Chelsea Pensioners when they are no longer able to live independently on the Long Wards. With a fully equipped medical centre including: an on-site GP, a therapy department complete with two physiotherapists and two occupational therapists, a gym, a fortnightly audiologist, a podiatrist (the list could go on...); the health requirements of the Infirmary residents and those who live on the Long Wards are very well catered for.

And there's more - as we've already said, this is not just about caring for health needs but also ensuring that the men and women who live here have a lot of fun along the way. With a dedicated activities team, life is never dull around the Infirmary. From pub mornings in Paget Ward to our very own Elvis performing for the crowds, to a visit from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, there is never a shortage of something to do.

A striking example of the vitality and excitement of the Infirmary was the Valentine's Day dance on 14th February. With around 90 pensioners in the Infirmary and only 2 women, a local care home stepped up to the mark, bringing a group of their ladies to enjoy a feast of sweet and savoury food, live music and of course some dancing with our lovely gentlemen. As the pianist played songs from a bygone era, the atmosphere was upbeat and joyful. Taking this as an opportunity to dress in his finest, one pensioner even turned up wearing a tuxedo complete with scarlet bow tie and cummerbund!

If this post has whet your appetite to hear more of life in the MTI, we will be posting updates on our activities and some profile pieces of both staff and pensioners in the coming weeks and months, so stay tuned and let us know what you think.

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