In the UK, a similar initiative had been launched by the NHS to connect patients who were separated from their families during the peak Covid crisis.
“It can work in different ways, really. One idea is that a patient might choose knitted hearts for different family members or loved ones. They can choose the colour that resonates best for that person. They then hold each knitted heart in their hands or against their own hearts and just infuse it with love before gifting it to their loved one. It’s quite a lovely thing to do. But also, family members can do the same thing in reverse for their special person in hospice.”
For those in the hospice’s in-patient unit, the hearts provide a sense of comfort when their loved ones aren’t around. “It’s something they can hold in their hands. It’s soft, they can pop it in their pockets. Nobody else needs to see it necessarily, it’s just something that’s always there.”
Linda says the knitted hearts are provided by hospice staff, volunteers and local knitting groups. Gifting the hearts provides people with an opportunity to voice their feelings – something which doesn’t always come easy. “It opens up a pathway for people, especially those who are particularly staunch, to tell their family members how much they love them.”