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Crafting a comfortable tradition

Last Modified: February 18, 2019

Generosity Heals

Sometimes, the only cure for what ails you is the opportunity to curl up with a warm blanket in a soothing spot. Imagine it’s Christmas day and your go-to comfort item – your favorite blanket – isn’t within reach. Unfortunately, this can be case for many patients in the hospital during the holidays, which is why the Parkview Foundation and Parkview Regional Medical Center Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) are working together to utilize donor generosity.

It all started in 1997 at Parkview Hospital Randallia‘s MICU, when a group of dedicated nurses were bedside thinking of nice gifts for patients during the holidays. “It’s hard as a healthcare professional working the holidays when we have patients who are in the hospital and don’t get to go home and be with their loved ones,” Mary Jo Cochran, Nursing Service Manager MICU and EICU, explained. “Our Service Excellence team and staff knew we needed to bring patients some holiday cheer and make them feel loved when they were away from home. We knew what we were getting into when we signed up for healthcare as a profession – working weekends and holidays, but our patients make it all worth it.”

Initially, the MICU team purchased fabric using their own funds. Sometimes they would use leftover material or wait for coupons. Then, the team would get together and make fleece tie-knot blankets to give to patients on Christmas Eve and Christmas day.

Mary Jo explained that the response and the outpouring from the patients and their families when they received the gifts were extremely rewarding. But despite the amazing feeling, the cost was adding up.

Over time, the Parkview staff came up with creative ways to raise the funds. For instance, each year the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Service Excellence team hosts an annual fall craft and bake sale. Staff donate crafts and baked goods and the money raised goes toward the purchase of materials for the comfort quilts.

In addition, Parkview Foundation donors have been providing grants and funds during the last four years in order to ensure the Comfort Quilt Program tradition continues. Now, due to their success, comfort quilts are also given to long-term patients — patients who are unfortunately in the ICU for longer than a week.

“We are getting to really know our patients so that we can do sports-themed blankets, hunting ones, flower ones, and many more specifically made for them. As we get to know the patient, we try to pick a blanket that is fitting for them or suits them,” Mary Jo said. “It’s a way for us to give back to our patients. And it’s just a little gesture of a blanket, but they appreciate it, which makes it worthwhile for them and our staff.”

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