Call for crafty knitters to make comfort blankets for elderly patients

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Elderly patients with dementia or sight impairments on East Surrey Hospital’s Newdigate ward can now enjoy beautiful sensory blankets, thanks to the Women’s Institute (WI) of Aylesford & Eccles for creating them.

Sensory blankets – or comfort blankets – provide a wonderful source of visual, tactile and sensory stimulation for those with dementia or sight impairments. They are small pieces of fabric with additional items stitched on, with different shapes and textures.

Pam Trangmar, a physician’s associate working on the Newdigate Ward, explained: “People with dementia often have restless hands and like to have something to keep themselves occupied. When I first started work on the ward, I noticed that a high number of our guests, who are mainly elderly, found their change of environment very distressing. A nursing colleague recommended comfort blankets and I asked my mother, who used to be her local WI president, to see whether some of her group’s team wanted to help make some. They made some gorgeous ones, and our guests are enjoying them greatly.”

Mary Barton, a patient with some sight impairment on Woodland ward, said: “I really like my comfort blanket, the different patterns and pictures – it’s lovely to touch and makes me feel very calm.”

The wards are now putting out a call to local craft or knitting groups to create some so that more of our patients can enjoy them.

“I’ve seen first-hand how our patients with dementia and sight impairments have felt comforted by these blankets. We are very grateful for the skill and time that the ladies of the Aylesford & Eccles Women’s Institute have provided to make these,” Michael Wilson, Chief Executive of Surrey & Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, said.

“If there are any other local groups that can help make these, so that our elderly patients receive the very best care when they are staying with us, that would be fantastic.”

Those interested in lending their skills and craftsmanship to this can contact [email protected] or call 01737 768 511 ext 6199.


Please download the information sheets below for instructions on how to make comfort blankets or comfort mitts to support our patients.

Want to get involved but don’t knit or sew? Donations of wool, oddments or full balls, plus decorations – large buttons or beads, ribbons, squishy things, etc. will also be gratefully received.

Mitts, blankets and materials may be dropped in at the Main Entrance Reception of East Surrey Hospital.

Download comfort blanket instructions

Download comfort mitt instructions

If you have further questions about this project, please contact [email protected] or call 01737 768 511 ext 6199.