Thursday, February 12, 2015

State of the Heart Quilts Bring Comfort and Special touch to Care Center

Pictured with the new quilt in the family lounge, is left to right, Chris Stamcoff, Heather Wogomon, and Cindy McCallister.
Quilts are known to provide comfort and a feeling of home when placed on a bed or hung on a wall. The colors can be restful in some instances, playful in others, and reassuring. State of the Heart Hospice has placed quilts in the nonprofit agency’s Care Center at Wayne HealthCare, some on a wall, and in other instances in patient rooms where they are used to cover the bed of a patient.

Recently, a new, large quilt was placed on the wall of the family lounge in the Care Center which consists of five beds on the fourth floor of the hospital. Closely involved with the quilts for the Care Center and the quilts for patients and their families is Chris Stamcoff. She quilted the quilt in the family lounge which is called “Days and Nights of Wine and Roses.” Cindy McCallister, who donated the artwork in the Care Center, commissioned the quilt to be made by Stamcoff.

“It brings a feeling of home, filling the room with warmth,” McCallister said. “Chris and I wanted something to make the room brighter and more homelike.” The room has tables and chairs and a couch for family members to sleep on if necessary. There is a bathroom for families also.

An important part of the quilt initiative at the Care Center is the Towne Square Quilting Club which has supplied more than 50 quilts that are lovingly placed on patient beds. If a patient passes away at the care center, the family is given the small quilt which covered their loved one. The quilts come in a variety of colors and themes. It is often by coincidence that a particular quilt ends up with a patient that has a special connection with the quilt.

Heather Wogomon, Director of the Care Center and Palliative Care, said there have been many instances where the quilt brought joy to a patient and family. In one instance, a patient was a country music fan; he had a quilt made of red bandanas. In another instance, a man had a quilt with images of the Cleveland Browns football team, his favorite team. One woman patient who was described as “colorful” in personality had a brightly colored quilt on her bed. Her husband commented that it matched her personality perfectly.

Stamcoff said that when she first visited the Care Center she realized that quilts would bring warmth and a more homelike feel to the center. She approached the quilting club and each quilter was asked to commit to making two patterns and colors that are 45 square inches in size.

“The quilts are great and the perfect size,” stated Wogomon, adding that the quilts have brought a lot of comfort to families cared for at the Care Center.

Perhaps one of the most interesting patient and quilt connections came last fall. Kennth Brock was a patient for about two weeks at the Care Center when he passed away at age 60. His path to the Care Center was unusual. His daughter, Dara Trissel of Versailles, said she had not seen her father, Kenneth, since she was a baby. At age four months, she was brought back to the Greenville area by her mother.

Last summer, she began an internet search for her father and found that he was under hospice care in Florida. She went to Florida and reconnected with her father. “His fear in life was that he would die alone with no family around him,” she explained. With that in mind, she brought her father back to Greenville. He was able to reconnect with his parents and his siblings before he passed away.

“The quilt is the most interesting aspect of his care at the Care Center,” Dara explained. Her father was Native American and had always had a love of horses and was at one time in rodeos. “Horses held a special place in his heart. Our whole family loves horses,” she added.

“His quilt,” she said, “had horses on it and he loved it. For him, it was a spiritual connection to a higher power. Yes, it was very special to him.” Dara emphasized the importance of her father’s Native American heritage and beliefs in another way: “One day he was having a lot of trouble with pain. Two music therapists from State of the Heart came into his room and played the Native American instruments, the drum and flute. Through his traditional music, he was able to relax and his pain subsided. It was amazing.”

Today, the quilt is in her home where her six young children find comfort in it. “They came to be close to their grandfather. When one of them talks of him or reflects about him, they wrap themselves up in the quilt with the horses. They call it ‘Grandpa Kenny’s quilt’,” she said. She was so inspired by the care her father received and the impact of the music therapy, that she is pursuing a college degree that will help her focus on alternative pain control for hospice and palliative care patients.

For 34 years, State of the Heart has provided care to patients and families in eastern Indiana and western Ohio who are confronting a life limiting illness. A nonprofit agency, State of the Heart relies on contributions and gifts to assure that quality hospice care and all of the services are available for all who need them. For more information about making a contribution, or to learn more about the agency, visit

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