ST. JOHNSBURY — Volunteers at Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital (NVRH) are finding new ways to provide comfort and stress relief for patients and families. The volunteers, who already knit and crotchet hundreds of prayer shawls, baby booties, toecaps and caps for patients and visitors every year, have expanded their projects to include handmade stress balls this year.

Director of Volunteer Services Pat Forest, MS, CAVS and Development Manager Jen Layn collaborated to bring the idea to life at NVRH after seeing similar projects at other healthcare organizations.

“We look for project ideas that benefit our patients, as well as allow our volunteers who enjoy knitting and crocheting to share their talents and give back,” Forest said. “These handmade stress balls are tactile, help with stress relief and add a personal touch to a patient’s stay.”

The stress balls are currently provided to emergency department, day surgery, medical/surgical and infusion patients. Depending upon supply and demand of the stress balls, the effort could expand to other departments too. According to volunteers, it takes about one hour to make one stress ball.

A note that reads “Handmade by NVRH volunteers, we hope this stress ball provides comfort, calm, and rest. We wish you well!” is affixed to each stress ball.

“The response has been fantastic. Volunteers have been making them by the basketfuls, and department directors have already commented on the positive response from patients,” Forest said. “Anything we can do to help improve a patient’s experience, the Auxiliary and volunteers try to support.”

For more information about NVRH Volunteer Services or to become an NVRH volunteer, contact Pat Forest at 802-748-7310.

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