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Quilts of Caring

Quilts of Caring

Dartmouth-Hitchcock nurses, employees, volunteers and community members find another way to extend care to patients.

Once a month, a conference room at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) fills with sewing machines, cutting boards and quilts in various stages of production. The nurses and Upper Valley residents who have attended these Saturday gatherings since December 2016 are volunteering to create quilts for the new Jack Byrne Center for Palliative & Hospice Care. 

The goal is to make 24 quilts—one for each twin bed in the center, plus a spare, says former D-H Nursing Project Specialist Darlene Saler, RN, who organized the project. With nearly 45 D-H nurses, employees, retirees and community members making quilts, the group will exceed their goal. They are also making lap quilts, and have completed nearly a dozen already, which Saler says they hope to send home with patients. 

“Quilters love to donate to charity and this is a great way to show support for something that has such meaning to the community,” says Saler. “The quilts will make the Jack Byrne Center even more homelike for the patients who receive care there.” 

Clinical Nurse Specialist Mary Catherine Rawls, MSN, RN, views the quilts as a way to further extend care to patients. “As a nurse, I give patients comfort in many ways,” she says. “So if I’m not there, I hope my quilted creation will give someone some comfort.” 

Rawls was one of the quilters whom Sheila Tanzer met when she visited a quilting session. A longtime supporter of D-H’s Palliative Care program and the widow of Radford Tanzer, MD, who led D-H’s Section of Plastic Surgery for many years, Tanzer was eager to meet the quilting volunteers after donating $2,400 to cover the cost of quilt batting.

“Their willingness to give generously of their time to create each beautiful, one-of-a-kind quilt is a gift of unselfish love,” says Tanzer, a writer and gardener. “The presence of these artistic gifts in each room at the Jack Byrne Center will surely bring a measure of joy to those who stay there.”

To learn how you can support programs and services at the Jack Byrne Center, contact Dorothy Heinrichs at 603-653-0752 or Dorothy.B.Heinrichs@Hitchcock.org. Or make a gift online at D-H.org/JackByrneCenter.