LINDSBORG — According to CBS News, an estimated 8.3 million American adults — about 3.4 percent of the U.S. population — suffer from anxiety.
To aid patients suffering with anxiety, the Lindsborg Community Hospital, located at 605 W. Lincoln St., now offers anxiety blankets for all patients.
"These blankets are kept in the emergency department, where our staff may first meet patients with an anxious reaction due to pain, fear or a condition exacerbated by a trip to the emergency room. It is a way to provide comfort and a feeling of security during an assessment or, if need be, waiting for a physician prescribed intervention — these blankets are also used on the nursing floor," said Betty Nelson, marketing and development director at the hospital.
The blankets provide a sense of security for patients, as Nelson described them similar to a firm hug.
"They help the body relax. The blankets make the wearers feel more grounded and safe, as an infant feels. Deep pressure touch can help the body relax — think of the pressure vests created for dogs fearful of storms and separation anxiety — or swaddling an infant," Nelson explained.
The blankets are evenly weighed with plastic pellets to stimulate nerve receptors. The pellets are sewn into compartments so the weight is evenly distributed.
Anxiety blankets aren't cheap, with some costing over $200. To alleviate the cost of the blankets, the Lindsborg Community Hospital Auxiliary pitched in their time and effort to make the blankets by hand.
"Our Hospital Auxiliary presented them to us a little over a year ago. A member of our nursing staff and a nurse member of our Auxiliary put their heads together and they ran with it and have completed two weighted blankets for patients to use," she said. "One blanket is weighted for adults and one for a child."
The anxiety blankets aren't the only thing the auxiliary team has made. The team has worked together to create fidget blankets, vests and aprons.
"Each has items for a patient with dementia or Alzheimer's Disease. They’re things to fidget with, like zippers, buttons, textile items, pockets with a small stuffed animal. These, too, are especially helpful for patients who are restless and anxious," she added.
Although the blankets are small in size, it helps everyone in the hospital in a large way.
"Our goal is always to provide the care and comfort a patient in pain or distress requires. These blankets are a tool in the toolbox for our nursing staff to implement them when they need it," Nelson added.
For more information, call the hospital at 785-227-3308 or visit their website at https://lindsborghospital.org.
Contact Brooke Haas by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @ MacSentinel.