The Personal Touch is Good Medicine

Admiring examples of the variety of handmade gifts donated for patients in the hospital are Carma Clarke, RN, director of nursing services and Chris Tegtmeier, a UH volunteer who also makes soft eyeglass holders for hospital patients.

It isn’t always the high tech medical equipment or a leading edge surgical procedure that makes the greatest impact on a patient in the hospital. Many times it’s a simple gift, made with love and compassion for the distress its recipient is experiencing. Union Hospital is fortunate to have a great many individuals and groups who regularly make quilts, pillowcases, bibs, placemats, and many other items for patients of all ages at the hospital.

Chris Tegtmeier of New Philadelphia not only volunteers her time at the hospital’s Information Desk, but contributes her talents to make eyeglass cases for patients in the hospital.

“Knitting and crocheting is a hobby of mine and I find it very rewarding to make a small gift like an eyeglass case for a patient who wears glasses and is worried about dropping or breaking them unless they’re protected,” Tegtmeier says.

As donations of handcrafted gifts come to the hospital, Carma Clarke, director of nursing services, says they are distributed to the patient care areas of the hospital where nursing staff give them to patients.

“It’s amazing to see the smiles, the appreciation, and sometimes even tears that result from a handmade pillow, pocket prayer cross, or handmade pillowcase,” Clarke says. “Receiving this handmade gift, often with a small note wishing the patient well, is very touching and serves as a great medicine for a patient who is likely not feeling their best.”

Kathy Willoughby, manager of volunteer services, says some handmade gift donations are received from individuals and clubs on regular basis, while others come in only once in a while, but all are welcome.

“We receive some very beautifully made afghans, walker bags, crocheted items, and pillows,” Willoughby says. “We can accept such donations weekdays during business hours at the hospital’s Information Desk just inside the Main Entrance.”

Willoughby says anybody interested in donating handmade items to be given to patients are welcome to bring them to the hospital or call her at (330) 364-0833.

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