Even with the compassionate and professional health-care services we receive in Alberta, being in the medical system can be stressful. That’s why we are currently working to optimize our weighted blankets for use in care facilities, hospitals, and ambulances. We are creating a weighted blanket that meets infection control standards with an ability to be cleaned in between users. We firmly believe in the many benefits of a weighted blanket for use in a number of different circumstances, most especially when comfort is needed.
Numerous studies have shown the positives of weighted blanket use for those with conditions such as stress, anxiety, chronic pain, and sleep-related issues. A weighted blanket provides deep-pressure stimulation similar to a warm hug. The weight of the blanket offers constant, even contact that stimulates the body and the mind. Feelings of calmness are induced through the release of serotonin, increasing the chances of falling asleep and staying asleep. Weighted blankets have also been shown to boost the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep processes.
Weighted Blanket Use for Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities
Care facilities are constantly looking for ways to improve their residents’ feelings of contentment and relaxation. Long-term care facilities have the most demanding requirements, as their patients have the most complex care needs. Alberta Health Services defines those as being candidates for long-term care facilities as requiring 24-hour care from a registered nurse whose needs cannot be properly and safely met in their home. However, when we reach that stage of life it doesn’t mean we no longer have the need or desire to feel at home and safe and content.
Common conditions necessitating long-term care include strokes, brain tumours, spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and dementia. Difficulties with sleeping are extremely common for dementia sufferers. Some may be restless at night, waking up often. Others may experience a kind of opposite effect, where they are most tired during the day. Either way, problems with sleeping can be very disruptive for caregivers. Sleep medications are not generally helpful, and are not recommended because of their ability to increase the chance of a fall.
Our first target with our modified blanket are those living with dementia-related syndromes (such as Alzheiner’s disease), but we know we have a lot of opportunity to help many others. The idea is that a care facility could have weighted items available to try with patients that are easy to clean between users and then if it is a solution the individual could be provided with a personal version for continued use.
Weighted Blanket Use for Residents of Acute Care Facilities
Acute care facilities are also called transitional care facilities, as their purpose is to look after those who require a lower level of care than those in the hospital, but more than those who can be live in their residence with home care. Examples may be those recovering from major surgery, such as knee and hip replacements, as well as those with broken bones who may not be able to care for themselves safely at home. Carewest is a major provider of acute care facilities in Calgary and Alberta.
Services provided by acute care facilities may include the continuation of assistance provided through hospitals, such as medication and diet monitoring, physiotherapy, laboratory tests, and chronic disease management.
It can be very frustrating to be in an acute care facility, as patients may simply just want to go home. Many find they don’t get the rest they need, as they are in an unfamiliar space without the comforts of home. Weighted blanket use in acute care facilities can help calm agitated patients through the deep pressure stimulation they provide, plus may assist in relieving pain and easing the symptoms of neurological conditions. It can give the comfort of home and family on a day-to-day basis and give families peace of mind that their loved one is comforted.
Weighted Blanket Use in Hospitals and Ambulances
Along with the implementation of their use in long-term and acute care facilities we are also advocating for the introduction of weighted blankets in hospitals and during ambulance rides. Those being transported to the hospital, going through uncomfortable tests, stressful doctor’s appointments, and learning about their health regimen can benefit from the calming influence of a weighted blanket, which will allow them to relax and concentrate of getting better faster. It can mean shorter wait times during procedures as the health professional doesn’t need to expend efforts reducing agitation and stress of the patient before proceeding. A weighted blanket can be especially helpful in situations where discomfort and stress is high, such as an ultrasound on a sensitive area, but there is not time to wait for pain medications to work or pain is not high enough to warrant medication.
There are many times when health care professionals cannot fully meet the needs of their patient in terms of comfort and stress reduction. They may have to move on to another patient, the patient may not need traditional medical interventions, etc. Another example would be that almost every patient in an emergency room requires an IV to be placed. This is an uncomfortable procedure that can highly increase stress but does not warrant anesthetic as it is typically completed within a few minutes and minimal pain, but because of the anxiety it can induce a weighted blanket could help make it more palatable. A weighted blanket can reduce the stress level of the user, which also reduces the tension of the health professional and the necessary procedures can be done quickly with a better experience for all parties.
Hippo Hug Weighted Blankets are Handmade With Care
Hippo Hug weighted blankets use a unique and proprietary weighting system involving specially designed disks so that the blanket has a low profile and looks just like a regular quilt. Weighted blankets in this type of use will have a seamless, liquid proof and wipe-able exterior that allows for frequent and changing users. We use ceramic-coated metal disks instead of plastic pellets or glass beads, which will not shift or spill, making our blankets last longer. The appropriate weight and size of your blanket is very important, so we keep a number in stock for you to take home and test out before you decide. Come by our storefront or give us a call to see how our weighted blankets can work to improve your sleep and your life. It is important to the team at Hippo Hug that you get the right fit for your unique needs.