From the moment you set foot into Les Jardins de Chantenay, you are greeted by warm smiles and an unmistakable aura of serenity. A lady in her seventies immersed in a book in the common area, against a stunning backdrop of Moka’s mountain range; a family erupting into peals of laughter in the dining area; Malcolm de Chazal paintings tastefully adorning the wall; nurses strolling the hallways, dropping by the rooms for friendly chatter with the residents. And overseeing it all, is Kunal Bagwan, the community’s Head of Healthcare.
Now in his sixth year at Chantenay, Kunal fell into nursing by sheer luck. At 18, fresh out of school, his curiosity and natural sense of empathy led him to take on a temporary position as a student nurse at Clinic Darné. Before he knew it, he was a fully qualified nurse by the age of 21, ready to explore the world of healthcare further.
“Chantenay’s ethos is simple,” Kunal shares. “It was built on the belief that while people may need more care than their families can provide at home, their desire to lead a dignified, enriching and meaningful life certainly doesn’t change. My greatest priorities are to make sure that our residents are healthy and hygienic, and that they have a balanced diet. Twenty-four-hour access to care is vital. I am aware of every detail, for all of them – at what time they wake up and sleep, their appetite, their weight, their mood, their medication…”
Les Jardins de Chantenay welcomes 84 residents,which include five couples. Around the clock individualized care is provided by skilled caregivers and nurses based on the level of autonomy of each resident and no matter the level of assistance required, a roster of attentive and dedicated caregivers and nurses are available 24/7
“Residents can bring their own furniture,” Kunal explains. In this way they can recreate their own environment with their cherished belongings and feel truly at home.
Dining rooms, common spaces with plush furniture and an enviable collection of books and games are at their disposalalong with an activities coordinator who is dedicated at encouraging social activity in a warm and friendly setting. Birthdays, Diwali, Christmas and Easter are celebrated downstairs, with matching decor and elaborate meals to go with each occasion. The chef also gives in to special cravings, often going out of his way to prepare curries or the local “ti puri.” Residents also enjoy their weekly shopping trips to Bagatelle mall, beach outings, or visits to the temple or church for those seeking spiritual support. Here, life is as quiet or as full of activities as each resident wishes it to be.
Kunal is in charge of the health care at Les Jardins de Chantenay. He oversees the operations of his department, including hiring and maintaining staff or coordinating logistical functions. He serves as the primary liaison between Chantenay, the pharmacies, the doctors and the residents, ensuring that medication is correctly administered, that doctors’ appointments are scheduled and kept, and that physical and medical needs are being met. But his most important role is acting as the liaison between the residents and their families. “I am in constant touch with them via all mediums—phone calls, email, Whatsapp, videos. Families take comfort in knowing that their loved ones are in capable hands.”
“Beyond the physical care or my daily responsibilities, most of my duties are unwritten or simply unquantifiable. It’s about emotional companionship,” he shares. “A good caregiver shows compassion and patience. Each resident knows me on a first-name basis and is welcomed to dial my number should they need anything at all.”He fondly remembers some heart-wrenching moments that he knows will stay with him for a lifetime. He is often the coordinator of surprise family reunions, witnessing emotional gatherings of family members who live in far-flung corners of the globe. “For me, there is nothing more rewarding. It’s really about the small things. Laughing or praying together, sharing stories, listening to words of wisdom… We are a family.”