UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital volunteer sewers have been making special blankets that soothe agitation and provide comfort for some of the hospital’s patients. They are sewing fidget blankets, which are lap-sized quilts that have items like buttons, zippers, Velcro and other similar items sewn to the blanket. These items may provide sensory and tactile stimulation for the restless hands of someone with Alzheimers, dementia, autism or attention deficit disorder.
“One evening when we were asked to place an IV for a patient,” said nurse Carrie Van Houten. “You could tell he was uneasy about getting the IV but once we talked with him about the process he started to become more agreeable but was still uneasy. We used the fidget blanket as a distraction. It was amazing to see the fear disappear when he started playing with the cool blanket and forgot all about the IV insertion.”
Once a patient is given a blanket at St. Luke’s, it is theirs to keep.
“We have wonderful volunteers that sew these fidget blankets for our patients, but we could use some donations for the materials that go into making them,” said Angela Berns, the hospital’s volunteer services manager. “We have a list of items we would love to receive if anyone is looking for a way to help with this meaningful project.”
A list of needed items can be seen at bit.ly/FidgetDonation. To drop off a donation, go to St. Luke’s Volunteer Services, which is in the hospital basement, or call (319) 369-7044 for questions or more information.