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.
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.
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.
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.