The ‘hearts’ helping to connect coronavirus patients and their families in South Yorkshire
Staff and patients at Cygnet Aspen Clinic, a specialist rehabilitation service for women in Doncaster, have been working hard creating the pairs of hearts – one for a seriously ill patient in hospital, and the other to go to a loved one who cannot get to see them because of self-isolation and social distancing rules.
The idea to offer comfort to families experiencing distress and grief came from a Facebook appeal, launched by supporters of Barnsley Hospital.
Less than 24 hours after hearing of the local campaign, Cygnet Aspen Clinic had created over 20 tiny knitted, felt and crocheted hearts.
Adam Robinson, an occupational therapist at the clinic, on Manvers Road in Mexborough, said: “The support for the appeal here has been quite remarkable, our patients really wanted to help.
“The idea is that when someone is in intensive care and they can’t have visitors, they get one heart and their loved one keeps the other.
“We hope that it will bring them some comfort, knowing that even though they can’t be together, there is something tangible they can share and hold on to.”
The first batch of tiny hearts were delivered to Barnsley Hospital last week.
Adam added: “We are lucky that all of us here at the clinic are well.
“The lockdown has, of course, brought multiple challenges and, like everyone else, we are not able to access the community.
“Because of infection controls, we also can’t have visitors come in, and that’s also been tough.
“If this had happened 20 years ago, it would have been more difficult, but we are using FaceTime and Skype calls and people are managing very well.
“We are all trying to stay positive.
“As much as possible, we encourage people to get involved in their own care, and we’ve noticed a real upturn in the ideas that people are coming up with, particularly to support the most vulnerable in the community.
“As well as the tiny hearts appeal, we have started a pen pals scheme with a local care home, where our patients have written letters which are scanned and emailed to the home.
“It’s really encouraging to see everyone pulling together.”
The Cygnet Aspen Clinic provides treatment and rehabilitation for women with a diagnosis of personality disorder and associated complex needs.