Calling All Knitters: Our Patients Need Comfort Shawls

 

Do you knit or crochet? Please help bring comfort to the sickest of Rush’s patients.

 

The Section of Palliative Medicine is in need of prayer shawls (also known as comfort or peace shawls) to give to inpatients who are suffering from uncontrolled symptoms or near the end of life.

 

They add to the sense that we’re providing comfort.  Whatever the clinical situation is, we’re never abandoning the patient. We continue to care for the patient however we can.

 

The shawls typically are handmade (although store bought shawls also are welcome). Before a person knits or crochets the shawl, the maker says a prayer or blessing for the shawl’s recipient. A final blessing also may be sent upon the shawls’ completion.  

 

The idea of a prayer fabric is widespread. Christians, Jews and Moslems all incorporate shawls into their religious observances.  Our shawls our given out to patients of all ages, genders, races, sexual orientations, religious or spiritual backgrounds.

 

The shawls often become a way for families to show love for patients. If they’re at the bedside, we ask them to help us, and we put the shawl on the patient together. In addition to providing warmth and a sense of embrace, the shawls brighten the patient’s surroundings.

 

The palliative care team sees about 1,200 inpatients a year, and at least half of them would be appropriate recipients for prayer shawls. While Bishop Anderson House, an Episcopal Church ministry serving the Illinois Medical District, donates about 50 shawls a year, the need for additional shawls is great.

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer Shawls

At Rush

 

 

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We hope that Rush staff members and community members who knit or crochet and are looking for a new project would choose to make shawls for patients. If you’re interested, you can learn more about prayer shawls at shawlministry.com, which includes instructions for the original prayer shawl design, additional patterns for knitted shawls and crocheted shawls, and a wide variety of prayers to say when beginning to make the shawl.

 

We believe making the shawls can be comforting for the knitters as well. Many staff members work in situations in which they become very distressed, because they see patients that are suffering and whose conditions can’t be fixed with medical interventions. Making a shawl might help ease those feelings. It’s not a cure, but it’s a way of still doing something and still caring for the patient.

 

For more information or to donate a shawl, please contact message us below or through our facebook page www.facebook.com/rushprayershawls

 

 

 

Disclaimer: This is not an official Rush University Medical Center Website.

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To Mail in a Shawl or Yarn Donation:

 

If using USPS:

 

Section of Palliative Care

Rush University Medical Center

1653 West Congress Parkway

Kellog Building, Suite 1125

Chicago IL 60612

If using UPS/FedEx/anything requiring signature:

 

Section of Palliative Care

Rush University Medical Center

711 South Paulina Street

Chicago IL 60612

 

About us: We are doctors, nurses, administrators, scientists, staff members, family members, friends, community members who share a common goal: to provide care and comfort to all of our patients of any age and any stage of disease.  Our group was inspired by prayer shawls that were given out across the street by the Palliative Care team at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County.  We saw a need to have this same support for our patients at Rush and our group was born mid February, 2015.  Since then we've received and given out roughly 80 shawls to deserving patients and families. 

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Contact us with any questions or comments about shawls or how to participate or contribute. 

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