During the coronavirus outbreak – and because of visiting restrictions - it’s more difficult for people to say goodbye to their loved ones.
Patients receiving end of life care, who are unable to be with their families due to Covid restrictions, are being given a crochet or wool heart to take with them on their final journey. The hearts are small enough to fit inside the palm of a hand.
The idea is that one heart stays with the patient and the other goes to their family.
Hearts that have been given out by North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust have brought comfort to some families during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Elaine Crooks, Head of Patient Experience and Involvement at NCIC, said: “The idea is to create a kind of connection during those final moments.
“We have the hearts available through the bereavement and mortuary services.
“We request that anyone wanting to make the hearts puts them in a plastic bag with the date of bagging written on the outside so we store them for 72 hours before we use them.”
Carly Dickinson, Emergency Department Sister at the Cumberland Infirmary, said: “Our fantastic receptionist Leonie Hind has kindly been making these crochet hearts herself and adding them to our department’s bereavement memory boxes. She is also leading on sending families sympathy cards on behalf of the department.”
What to do
We're joinging hospitals around the country calling on local crafters to help us to help families feel closer to their loved ones at this difficult time.
If you can help, we're collecting pairs of knitted, sewn or crocheted hearts the same size and colour. These will be sent from the hospital to a patient's family following their passing, as they may not have been able to be with them during their time in hospital.
Here is a guide pattern for knitting. If you are sewing or crocheting, the size should be no bigger than 10x10cm, as this size allows us to easily put them in the post. Please ensure there is at least one pair of hearts in a matching colour and size using clean yarn. The colour is your choice.
The hearts should then be brought – in a sealed bag – to the main entrance of any of our hospital sites. At the Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland Hospital they can be left with the volunteer team between 8am and 6pm.