There are a number of different ways weighted blankets can benefit their users. Hippo Hug products have been shown to help those with insomnia, anxiety, chronic pain, PTSD, autism, restless legs syndrome, fibromyalgia, and numerous other mental and physical disorders. Whether you’re stressed or lonely, or even if you can’t sleep well a few nights a week a Hippo Hug weighted blanket can help.
We create these custom products mainly for personal use, however we are working to introduce weighted blankets designed for medical use into facilities such as nursing homes, hospital wards, and dental offices. We believe they can be of use in many situations where people require a way to relax and either focus on their treatment, or let their mind wander off while being evaluated. We believe it’s so valuable to patients that Hippo Hug has a program for institutions, similar to our “Try before you buy” program, where care professionals can receive a package of items to try in their practice to test efficacy of weighted blanket use before committing to purchasing.
Weighted blankets apply what is known as deep pressure touch stimulation, which results in both physical and psychological benefits. Often likened to a warm hug from a loved one, deep pressure touch stimulation produces a relaxing and calming feeling. The deep pressure touch stimulation activates the parasympathetic nervous system, causing the release of dopamine and serotonin, which soothes, comforts and reassures. Weighted blankets have also been shown to boost the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep processes.
Unlike many other weighted blanket companies, our products are made entirely in Calgary from start to finish. This means that we are able to provide an enormous number of combinations of sizes and weights ranging from one suitable for a three-year-old child to one large enough to be used by two fully-grown adults if placed sideways. We are proud to be able to refer to ourselves as a “Made in Canada” company.
Weighted Blanket Use in Retirement and Long-Term Care Homes
We have already had some success implementing the medical use of weighted blankets into retirement and long-term care homes. Many on the Hippo Hug staff are dealing with the stress involved with caring for aging parents, and even though care facilities continue to improve in their methods, it can still be difficult for seniors to lose their sense of autonomy. The residents of long-term care facilities often have very complicated medical needs, with more than one condition requiring treatment, and it’s a horrible reality that many seniors are heavily overmedicated.
A CBC Radio special titled, “Over-medicated seniors are an ‘unseen epidemic,’” reveals that 40% of those over age of 85 take at least 10 medications, and 67% of those over the age of 65 take at least five medications. And often people are taking medicine for ailments they no longer have. There’s no doubt that many prescriptions improve lives and increase longevity, however there is increasing awareness of the dangers of overmedication. Healthcare professionals are looking for novel and useful ways to reduce medication as a means of calming and have seen success with weighted product use.
As well, patients in long-term care often suffer from a lack of personal contact, and Hippo Hug weighted blankets or Hippo Sit weighted lap pads can help replace daily touch stimulation.
We all know humans need physical touch to thrive, and we know that our weighted blankets have the ability to help seniors. Our first target group is those living with dementia-related syndromes (such as Alzheimer’s disease). Difficulties with sleeping are extremely common for dementia sufferers. Some may be restless at night, waking up often. Others may experience the opposite effect, where they are most tired during the day but cannot get restorative rest. Either way, weighted blankets can help all those affected (including caregivers) get a good night’s sleep or enhance a restful break.
The medical use of weighted blankets in a care facility could begin with simply trying out one of our products, and then if it is a solution the individual could be provided with a personal version for continued use. Institutions have found Hippo Hug is able to help them accommodate their needs in a variety of ways, especially customized products that fit their laundry and clientele needs.
Our weighted animals and lap pads have proven beneficial for older people as well. This testimonial from a worker in a care home speaks of success with three patients, with the occupational therapist observing, “Outcomes noted have been a decrease in vocalizations, PRN medication use and overall decrease in agitation levels. These have been exciting and welcoming outcomes and I plan to continue to work with Hippo Hug.”
Weighted Blanket Use in Hospital Wards
The medical use of weighted blankets can easily extend to hospital wards, where the noise and constant disturbances can make it very hard to fall and stay asleep. We think our weighted blankets would not only help patients, but also medical personnel. People get better faster when they are well-rested, and weighted blankets have the potential to greatly reduce the length of hospital stays. In addition, there is really no time when people need the comfort and security provided by a weighted blanket more than when they are in the hospital. The hospital can be a lonely place and sometimes the largest burden on nursing staff is comforting patients, but this is easily pushed aside by urgent interventions. Healthcare professionals have said they like that a weighted blanket can increase their customer service to their patients without adding to the burden of tasks. They are an easy way to show care and be able to move on to more pressing tasks.
Weighted Blanket Use at the Dentist
Dentists’ offices are anxiety-inducing for many. You have to sit very still in an uncomfortable position while various tools and instruments scrape, poke, prod, and drill at your teeth. Over the past few years sedation dentistry has been increasingly touted as a solution for those who experience extreme anxiety at the dentist, but there are very real risks in involved.
For those who feel safe and relaxed when a heavy x-ray bib is draped upon them, a weighted blanket might be an opportunity to alleviate symptoms of anxiety. And since our Hippo Sit weighted lap pads were designed to travel, their smaller size makes them ideal for dentist and doctor’s offices. Dentists love the wipe-able surface of our multi-patient blankets, which have been designed for easy disinfection between users and have shown anecdotal evidence of increasing patient comfort, making for more pleasurable appointments for everyone involved.
This testimony from a client called Samantha in Calgary illustrates our point:
I haven’t managed a single dentist appointment – not even a cleaning or a consult/exam – without taking Ativan in probably the past 10 years. Today, I made it through the placement of a dental implant with not a single pill, thanks to the generosity of Leslie Brooks at Hippo Hug: Weighted Blankets and Animals lending me a weighted blanket to try. It was warm and comforting, and helped me focus and relax during the procedure without my anxiety taking over.
Thank you so much, Leslie!
Getting Coverage for Your Blanket
As we hope to see the medical use of weighted blankets increase, we are also taking the necessary steps to ensure that health insurance companies and health benefit providers become more aware of how helpful they can be. A common question we hear is, “Can I claim my weighted blanket on employee health benefits?” which we have been addressing on a case-by-case basis with some success. These tips may assist you in getting your blanket covered, and the first step is obtaining a note from your doctor.
Hippo Hug is Here to Help
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about our products, or just come on by our storefront to have a firsthand look at what we do. We look forward to discussing how our quality weighted blankets for meditation can help improve your life. If you have any additional questions, visit our frequently asked questions page. We pride ourselves on our weighted blanket expertise and excellent customer service.