Students and faculty members involved with the University of Florida’s Comfort Shawl Project recently visited the Haven Hospice E.T. York Care Center to gift shawls to several patients.

The goal of the Comfort Shawl Project, which started in spring 2014 and gifted its first shawl in July 2014, is to provide comfort to patients and their families facing a serious illness at UF Health Shands and other facilities in the Gainesville area. To achieve this end, comfort shawls are gifted to patients through the UF Health Shands Palliative Care Program.

“This program lets the students practice being present with the patient and family,” said Dr. Toni Glover, an assistant professor in the College of Nursing at the University of Florida, of the College of Nursing Comfort Shawls Project. “They aren’t there to hang an IV or administer medication. They offer the gift of a shawl and have the opportunity to meaningfully interact with the patient and family.”

At the recent visit to Haven, several honors nursing students from UF spent time with patients in the care center before letting the patients decide which shawl they would like to keep.

The Comfort Shawls Project welcomes volunteers, from beginners to experts, to knit or crochet comfort shawls. Students, staff, faculty and UF alumni have contributed to this service project. Expert craftswomen have volunteered to teach those that would like to learn how to craft a comfort shawl. For beginners, members of the Comfort Shawls Project can also direct volunteers to many resources (online and in-person) to help volunteers learn how to knit or crochet.  Donations of yarn are also welcome.

For more information on the UF College of Nursing Comfort Shawls project visit http://nursing.ufl.edu/outreach/college-of-nursing-comfort-shawls-project/ or email comfortshawls@health.ufl.edu.