The Quarry Point Quilt Guild members have used their sewing skills to help their community once again.
The group sews pillowcases for palliative care and nursing homes, saddlebags for people who use walkers and quilts for people who are very sick.
Now they’ve turned 155 short-sleeve resident gowns into long-sleeve isolation gowns, with elastic cuffs — important personal protective equipment needed for staff if any residents contract COVID-19.
“We do a lot of things for the community,” said Lorna Bishop, a retired nurse and founding member of the group. “It feels pretty good to help out. We don’t turn down many jobs.”
When the first cases of COVID-19 were announced in Nova Scotia and public health orders were enacted to stop the spread of the potentially deadly disease, Seaview Manor CEO Eric Doucette began preparing. However, personal protective equipment was difficult to obtain.
“Given the gravity of the pandemic, it was clear that more PPE would be required beyond the normal two-week supply,” Doucette said.
“Sourcing PPE is a full-time job these days … Resident and staff safety in this COVID-19 pandemic are paramount and Seaview Manor will continue to pull out all the stops when it comes to protecting our residents and our staff.”
Doucette started brainstorming other ways to get needed PPE. Knowing the Glace Bay nursing home was well stocked in resident gowns, he thought they could modify these by adding sleeves and called Robert Sheppard (chair of the Seaview Manor board of directors) with the idea.
"It feels pretty good to help out. We don’t turn down many jobs." — Lorna Bishop
Both men are members of St. Mary’s Church in Glace Bay, where Bishop also attends services. The Quarry Point quilters also rent the hall at the church for meetings, workshops and shows. Sheppard and Doucette thought they might be the perfect group to help.
“At that time, we were trying to make sure we had enough PPE and the gowns we had weren’t adequate” said Sheppard. “They did a fantastic job. It was very nice of them to do that for us.”
Seaview Manor purchased 300 metres of fabric and elastic needed to secure the sleeves, then four members of the guild plus one other quilter got busy sewing in their homes.
“It took some of us longer than others (to finish the gowns we were given),” Bishop said, explaining four of them got 30 gowns and one received 35 to modify.
“Mine were dropped off on (a) Wednesday and I dropped them off on (the following) Monday.”
The gowns are reusable and can be washed on site because the long-term care home has its own laundry facilities.
Seaview Manor is so grateful for the help, its foundation is donating $500 to the quilt group.
“We really don’t know what we would have done without them,” Sheppard said.
“The wealth of a community is always demonstrated by the compassionate actions of its members and Seaview Manor is proud to be a member of the Glace Bay community,” said Doucette.