Here’s a story that gives us the warm fuzzies. Or maybe we should say, the warm fleecies. It begins on the Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit at Mayo Clinic’s Rochester campus. While most of the unit’s patients are adults, a small number of pediatric patients also receive care there. The four rooms dedicated to the youngest patients were not, we’re told, perfectly kid friendly. Some of the staff wanted to change that says Wendy Worden, a clinical nurse specialist on the floor.
“We wanted to make the rooms more welcoming to kids,” Worden tells us. One way to do that, they thought, was to welcome each new pediatric patient with a gift: a fleece blanket. And not just any fleece blanket. These would be “handmade with love” by a special group — their own caregivers. Worden and some of her colleagues picked out kid-friendly fabrics. Then 20 nurses from the unit spent a Saturday in January making the blankets. What makes the story even sweeter? Many of the nurses brought their own kids along to help.
It was “heartwarming” to see the parents and kids working together, Worden tells us, adding that “staff love being able to give of themselves like this.” Each finished blanket was wrapped with a ribbon and a tag that reads: “This blanket has been made just for you by your rehab nurses and their kids. Fleece get well soon.” (Awwww.)
The first blanket went to a young girl who’d already spent 200 days in the hospital. “She was not thrilled to be coming to rehab and extending her stay,” Worden reports. Before the young patient arrived on the unit, Worden and her colleagues learned that she liked kittens and the color pink. As luck would have it, they had a blanket that featured both.
Blankets aren’t the only thing making the space a homier place for young patients. As part of an effort they call “Big Hearts for Little Hands on the Rehab Unit,” staff have also purchased two carts that will be able to move among patient rooms. One will house a Nintendo Wii video game console and games; the other, a DVD player and kid-friendly movies. Worden says they also plan to purchase window clings and other decorations for patient rooms. The group's efforts, she tells us, were made possible by a grant from Kid's Cup, an annual golf tournament that has raised more than $1 million for pediatric care in Rochester. If you’d like to (ahem) chip in, this year’s event takes place on May 23.
We’d love it if you’d leave a comment below. Before you hit the links, you can share this story with others using the handy social media tools.