Mercyful Quilts Update

Today is National Kindness day.  What better day to write an update about the Mercyful Quilts project?

On Monday of this week I had the pleasure of watching my friend Patty pick up the first batch of Mercyful Quilts.  It was a lovely thing to watch her oooh and ahhh over each and every quilt in the stack.  She and her colleagues are thrilled to have these quilts and to know that more are on the way.

Patty and I with a quilt designed and made by Yvonne Fuchs.

While she was here, we talked about the ways that the team at Mercy Hospital supports their patients and the patient’s family while they say good bye to each other.  Mercy Hospital in Sacramento, CA has a large, specialized Oncology Center and Cardiac Center as well as their Surgical ICU unit. As such, they regularly support patients who are in the process of dying.  I commend these nurses and social workers for providing loving comfort to their patients and families as they go through the dying process.

The quilt drawer on a Comfort Cart at Mercy Hospital.

Patty explained they have Comfort Carts which are used by their Palliative Care team.  Two doctors, a nurse, a social worker and a chaplain make up this team.  Palliative care is defined by the World Health Organization as follows:

  • provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms;
  • affirms life and regards dying as a normal process;
  • intends neither to hasten or postpone death;
  • integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care;
  • offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death;
  • offers a support system to help the family cope during the patients illness and in their own bereavement;
  • uses a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families, including bereavement counseling, if indicated.

The Palliative Care team at Mercy Hospital are the people who decide what sorts of items would be most helpful to the families and keep the comfort carts full.  These carts might contain religious items such as spiritual reading material in a variety of denominations and rosaries, flameless candles, CD players with music, scented lotions, pamphlets and information on the dying process, Mercyful quilts and some pillowcases.  They also have hand casting kits available as some families want to make one to take home with them.  The team works with the family and patient to provide kindness, comfort and support to make the dying process as peaceful as possible.

Staff at Mercy Hospital are so grateful for your gorgeous quilts.

In the photo above, from left to right, is Lori M., palliative care nurse, Candy K., Nurse Manager for the ICUs, Patty J (my friend and a nurse on the Surgical ICU unit), and Emma C., social worker for Palliative Care.  This team is very appreciative of the quilts being donated to their hospital.  As for me, I am in awe of the comfort these professionals provide at a time when it is most needed.

While Patty was here I asked whether there were any special needs she knew of with regard to the quilts we are making.  She asked that if possible, we make a few quilts with colors or fabrics which might appeal to men.  Also, if possible, it would be great to have some patriotic quilts which would be meaningful to veterans of our country.  I think both of these are great ideas.  So far, we do have a number of ‘gender neutral’ quilts but a few leaning to a male design or color palette would be great.  I have not yet made a Quilt of Valor but this is a great opportunity for me to do so.  It is on my list and will be started after the holidays.  Have you made a QOV? Would you like to donate one to this group?  If so, I am happy to facilitate that for you!

Thank you so much to all who have sent quilts, or are making and sending quilts now.  Your kindness is greatly needed and very much appreciated by the team and patients at Mercy Hospital.  Leave any questions in the comments and I will be back in touch as soon as possible.

22 thoughts on “Mercyful Quilts Update

  1. Wendy Tuma

    I commend Patty and the countless others across the country who do this difficult, but loving work. It cannot be easy to assist families and patients in this way day after day. I’m sure it’s a very emotional thing, and yet very rewarding and appreciated. Thanks for sharing this, Bernie.

    Reply
  2. Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl

    Thank you for the update and more information about how the quilts are going to be used. I am in awe of people who are able to work in the medical field, honestly, and I deeply appreciate the care that this team puts into their work. Thank you for facilitating the exchange.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Yes, I feel the same. It is such important work and must be really intense at times. I am happy to organize this project Yvonne. It is nothing but a little time, which I have to offer. 🙂

      Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Isn’t the picture so sweet Louise? They look so happy to have these beautiful quilts to offer. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your husband!

      Reply
  3. Roseanne

    Hi Bernie! I just love reading this story. My sister spent a long 10-years dying from cancer, so this hits really close to home. Even though it’s been three years already, I could cry in a . This is definitely something I need to get involved with, or find out if our local hospital does something similar. I remember a prayer shawl in such nice soft fabric or yarn giving such comfort at the time. I think her husband has it (I don’t recall to tell the truth), but it really was comforting. Such a nice message to share. I’m going to see if I can share your FB link on my FB page. Smiles like this always need to be shared. Happy Wednesday to you! ~smile~ Roseanne

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      I think you should be able to share the link without any problems Roseanne. I am sorry to hear about your sister. That must have been a terribly painful period in your life. Take care.

      Reply
  4. Cherie

    Hi Bernie,
    People who can comfort those who are critically is is certainly someone special. I have seen hospice workers who help loved ones at home be comfortable during their last days on earth and always wonder how they do it. I’m afraid I’d would be to emotional and wouldn’t be of much help. This is a great thing you guy’s are doing. I’m sure you will receive some blessing for it.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Hi Cherie, I agree that it takes a special mindset to deal with terminally ill or dying patients. I don’t think I could do it either but I respect the need. I love these sorts of projects where I can see the need being filled and how appreciative the recipients are. It is very satisfying. Have a great day.

      Reply
  5. Linda (txwxgeek on IG)

    Bernie thank you for the update. I bawled all the way through it. It is so uplifting and touching to read how compassionate those folks are.
    I just finished sewing on the binding to my contribution. In the morning I will finish hand-sewing the binding, have my hubby model the quilt for photos (lol!) and box it up to mail. We will take it to the PO tomorrow. Yes I would be happy to make a Quilt of Valor . It may be after the holidays, but I would like to continue to contribute to Mercyful Quilts.
    Is that a new logo for Mercyful Quilts at the top of the post, one I could copy and put on my blog?

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Yes! I forgot to mention that! I would love for you to put the graphic on your page. My QOV will be started after the holidays as well. But I am happy to have that project to look forward to. I want to look at my fabric and see what else I need for that. We can make them together! Happy Thanksgiving Linda. ❤️❤️❤️

      Reply
  6. Robin Klein

    Bless all of you who participate in this wonderful endeavor to bring comfort to not only the patient (pt.) but their family. No one wants to have their last remberance of their loved one in a sterile hospital environment. Every person dressed the same, in the same bed and same sheets. A quilt is like a hug. As a retired nurse working for >30yr I still remember every pt. that died in my care starting in nursing school. I could not work oncology or hospice. That takes a Very Special nurse. Thank you for recognizing this need and filling it. A special place in heaven is waiting for you and every staff member on that team. P.S.Hope these fires are not affecting you. quiltyladyrr@gmail.com

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Good morning Robin, Thank you for your comment. It is probably really interesting for you to see how things change over time with respect to patient care. I think this is so important to support patients and their families at the end of life stages. But I totally agree, working in oncology or hospice would be very difficult for me. The medical professionals in these fields are unique in their ability to care for terminally ill people.

      The fires are tragic this year (as every year really). For us, it means terrible air quality because the smoke is so thick. My daughter’s high school is closed today because they don’t want the kids out in this air. Such a horrible situation. Thanks for your concern. 🙂

      Reply
  7. Kaholly

    Bernie, honey, you just blow me away, as does the palliative care unit at this hospital. I had no idea this was done. I wonder how many other hospitals make such grandiose efforts. This post was so well written, full of valuable information, and very uplifting. Thank you so much!

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      I am not sure how many hospitals do this to the same level of care but I hope there are a lot. It is an important process that should be supported and respected as best we can. I am glad the post was meaningful to you. 🙂 Have a great day Karen.

      Reply
  8. Mari

    They had a program like this at the hospital where my mother in law passed away in Longmont, Colorado. No quilts, but food, coffee, and anything she wanted. It made such a difference to all of us. Not a happy time, but it made things easier on all of us. This is a great program to support, Bernie, and thanks for brnging it to all of our attention.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      It does make a difference and I am happy to organize this. Many hands make small work and all of that. Thank you for offering to send quilts Mari. Can’t wait to see them. 🙂

      Reply
  9. tehachap

    My apologies for not getting my quilt to you. It’s ready for final quilting and is sitting by my sewing machine. I’ve been drawn to other commitments, but will do the final stitching ASAP and I have loads of new fabrics to make quilts from. I purchased 80+ yards of fabric from a woman whose aunt was a quilter and who left her quilting stash to her niece. I was the very fortunate quilter to be able to purchase much of her stash of beautiful fabrics. The flow of quilts will continue…

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      No problem! I am just happy knowing it is coming our way – it takes the fun out of quilting if you feel like you have to hurry. So, enjoy the process and send it when you are finished. I look forward to seeing it. Happy Thanksgiving!!!

      Reply

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