Nurses at an Orlando, Fla., hospital have embarked on a charitable project that not only recycles, but helps the homeless.
Inspired by a New Jersey hospital that turns surgical equipment wraps into sleeping mats for the homeless, the nursing team on the surgical unit at Orlando Health Dr. P. Phillips Hospital decided to go one step further and create sleeping bags and pillows from the material.
The wraps make an ideal material since they are durable and retain heat, while also being soft and water-resistant.
“The motivation for this project was the desire to create something that could benefit both people and the environment. On any given day, if Dr. P. Phillips Hospital is sterilizing trays from external vendors, there can be anywhere from 70 to 125 discarded wraps a day—not including the hospital’s own,” said Cory McFarlane, an R.N. who chairs the Unit Nurse Practice Council.
The project began in July, with monthly sewing sessions for five to 10 participants. So far eight bags have been distributed by team members or through the hospital’s ER. But as the holidays loom, “the group is hoping to have another 36-40 bags completed” early this month, to donate to the Community Hope Center, which serves low-income families in the area, McFarlane said.
A Facebook post about the project has stirred interest elsewhere, with hospital workers in eight states seeking information on how to make their own.