For the media

Homemade quilts and afghans bring holiday cheer

By The Health News Team | December 23, 2020
Sharp Coronado Hospital caregivers and an auxiliary volunteer stand behind stacks of handmade quilts and afghans before they were donated to patients in long-term care.

Sharp Coronado Hospital caregivers and volunteer (l-r: Victoria Risovanny, Katy Green, Nora Anguiano and Haley DiPane) stand behind stacks of handmade quilts and afghans prior to donating to long-term care patients. Photo courtesy of Christine Santos.

There's a reason the word "blanket" is so often likened to the feeling of being loved or protected, a hearty and warm hug, or even the warmth of a loved one's presence. Blankets - or afghans, quilts and shawls, in this case - provide a sense of comfort to those who need it most, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sharp Coronado Hospital Auxiliary volunteers have felt this need keenly as they waited to learn whether a beloved annual event would be sidelined this year due to the pandemic. Sewing, knitting and crocheting quilts and afghans for patients in Sharp Coronado's long-term care units give both the volunteers and the patients something to look forward to during the holidays. Thankfully, 2020 would be no exception.

Sharp Coronado Hospital volunteers delivered dozens of handmade blankets to the hospital's patients in long-term care. While the volunteers were not permitted to go inside this year, they loaded up carts with the blankets outside the doors of the unit shortly before care team employees, such as Victoria Risovanny and music therapist Haley DiPane, handed out the blankets to patients.

"The quilt and afghan blanket distribution has become a tradition for our auxiliary volunteers quilt group," says Risovanny, manager of patient relations at Sharp Coronado. "The volunteers work on their creations throughout the year and always look forward to delivering blankets to the patients during the winter holidays."

According to Risovanny, while the volunteers were unable to come to the hospital to volunteer during the pandemic, they collaborated with each other remotely and continued making quilts and blankets from home. "It was quite remarkable," she says.

Caregiver Nora Anguiano gives patient Juan "Johnny" Obal a blanket inside Sharp Coronado's long-term care unit. Photo courtesy of Christine Santos.

Caregiver Nora Anguiano gives patient Juan "Johnny" Obal a blanket inside Sharp Coronado's long-term care unit. Photo courtesy of Christine Santos.

Barb Malebranche, an auxiliary volunteer, enjoys being able to bring a little touch of home and provide patients with a quilt, lap blanket or shawl to help keep them warm and spread a little cheer during the holidays.

"The health and welfare of residents in communal living arrangements nationwide has been especially challenging during this most difficult year, given that family and visitors have been severely restricted to protect residents from COVID-19 infections," Malebranche says. "With all the activities we have not been able to do this year, we can still provide much-needed comfort to these vulnerable people by making them beautiful blankets. What better way is there to use our quarantine time?"

Cherie Collins says she continued to make small lap quilts this year because there are always those who need a little more love, especially now. "It makes my heart so happy to think that my humble creation might provide some warmth and care not only to the patients, but perhaps to their families as well," she says.

One volunteer, Katy Green, a retired manager of Coronado's emergency department, says she has made more than 125 quilts for the hospital's long-term patients and for other donation purposes. Making quilts provides a sort of "happy place" for her, just as it did for her mother and grandmother during their lifetimes, she shares.

"To me, the quilts were gifts of love for not only the residents, but also for their families and loved ones to know that we cared for them," Green says. "Even the staff enjoyed seeing all of the bright colors on a resident's lap, spread across a bed or even folded at the foot of a bed. I always look forward to making and delivering these quilts and afghans for the holidays."

And when asked what the patients thought of the blanket delivery, Risovanny shares that one patient, who picked a bright yellow quilt, was very emotional about her choice because she said the quilt looked "just like the one she had at home."

"We are very grateful to the volunteers for the moments like this," Risovanny says. "And for helping patients and residents feel like they're at home while we care for them at Sharp Coronado Hospital."

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