Olivia Colman and Hugh Grant among stars to thank NHS for coronavirus fight

Coronavirus: Nurse appeals for fabric hearts to keep intensive care patients connected to loved ones

'I hope this is one way of making the situation a tiny bit more bearable', says Kat Lamb

Sarah Young@sarah_j_young
Tuesday 14 April 2020 14:18
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A nurse has launched an appeal for volunteers to create matching fabric hearts for patients and their relatives during the coronavirus pandemic.

Amid the outbreak, visiting has been severely restricted at hospitals across the UK, leaving many people feeling alone and detached from their loved ones.

With this in mind, Kat Lamb, an intensive care nurse at the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, launched an initiative to help bring patients and their families closer together.

The 23-year-old nurse has called on volunteers to send in matching fabric hearts with the hope that it will bring comfort to relatives who are unable to visit.

“While we are always there with our patients, caring for them, it's not the same as having the hand of a loved one to hold,” Lamb said.

“But by giving the patient a heart, and sending a matching one to their family, it can help them feel like they have an emotional link, and a small token to focus on.”

The hearts are quarantined for seven days before they are given to patients to ensure any risk of infection is minimised.

“Normally relatives are with their loved ones in our critical care units all the time but that just isn't possible at the moment,” Lamb added.

“It's heart-breaking for them, and it's difficult for us as nurses too, so I hope this is one way of making the situation a tiny bit more bearable.

Kat Lamb, an intensive care nurse at QEQM Margate, says she hopes people appreciate the thought behind the appeal (PA)

“Our patients are never alone but anything we can do to help families feel more connected is a bonus at this particularly difficult time.

“Not everyone will want a heart but I hope some people find it comforting and appreciate the gesture and the thought behind it.”

The NHS trust has said that hearts can be knitted, crocheted, embroidered, or made of fabric or felt, and that each one should have at least one matching pair. The team will then send up to three to relatives.

Fabric hearts can be sent to the palliative care teams at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, Kent, and Canterbury Hospital or the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate.

Lamb’s appeal is one of many heartwarming examples of people coming together to support one another amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

Last month Becky Wass, a freelance copywriter from Falmouth, Cornwall, came up with a novel idea to help combat loneliness: a postcard scheme that allows vulnerable members of society to request that others carry out certain errands for them.

Elsewhere, children across the country have been sharing drawings of rainbows on social media using the hashtag #RainbowsForNightingale to show solidarity with NHS workers on the front line.

The trend was reportedly started by a nurse who wanted to create “a sign of hope” for patients and staff in hospitals across the country.

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