Above photo: At the rink (l to r): Hockey moms Sharon Brakeleong, Fay-Ping Lau and Lin Lin Yu, VGH social worker.
When VGH social worker Lin Lin Yu noticed a poster calling for volunteer knitters to help with comfort mitts for patients with dementia, a group immediately came to mind.
“I'm not a knitter myself — I don't have the patience — but several of the hockey moms I know are," says Lin Lin. “I took samples of comfort mitts to the arena and they got on board right away. They love incorporating different materials, textures and decorations to create mitts that will help reduce anxiety in patients."
Comfort mitts were introduced at VGH for patients with dementia on our hospitalist medicine units. Made of colourful wool embellished with accessories like beads and buttons, the mitts provide visual and tactile stimulation and distract patients from pulling at intravenous lines, catheters and oxygen tubing. The mitts help to relieve anxiety and spark conversation.
So far, Lin Lin's friends have donated six comfort mitts with several more underway. More knitters have been recruited — and one hockey grandmom is volunteering to knit too.
“People love the idea and see right away that these are great tools for providing comfort for people suffering from anxiety," says Lin Lin. “It's something small with a positive and powerful impact. It's been very touching to watch my friends pour their hearts into this project. Dementia touches so many lives. I think they feel that, by helping someone they don't know, maybe someone they don't know will help their families in the future."
Above photo: Hockey moms Jennifer Isobe (left) and Sharon Brakeleong.
Comforting patients with every stitch and purl