August 12, 2019

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CAMC volunteers are working with the staff at General Hospital to make fidget/activity blankets for patients with dementia. The blankets are made from velcro, zippers, buttons, snaps, different textures and recycled volunteer smocks, which provide sensory and tactile stimulation for restless hands.

"People with dementia can get confused or anxious when they are removed from their daily environment and put into an unfamiliar location, like the hospital. Stimulating their other senses with the different textures and items that are sewn into these quilts can be soothing, calming, and make their stay a little less stressful," said Kelly Anderson, RN, BSN, director of volunteer services.

"We are excited to begin using the blankets and seeing the positive impact it has for our patients and their caregivers," said Connie Saltsgaver, nurse manager on 4 South.

Each blanket is different, the designs can sometimes be customized to a patient's interests, and patients can take them home when they leave the hospital.

"The blankets are all unique," Saltsgaver said. "One was made especially for a veteran with flags and a red, white and blue theme."

The first blankets were made as part of the volunteer services crafting program. There are currently three volunteers who make blankets, but anyone can make them and the team is looking for more people who would like to help. For more information, call volunteer services at (304) 388-7426.

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