LuAnn’s residents turning rags into bandages

NAPPANEE — June 9th marked the fourth year a group of ladies at LuAnn’s Nursing Home in Nappanee began cutting bedsheets as bandages for the White Cross. Every Friday around 1:30 p.m. the ladies gather around a table and begin measuring out and tearing apart old bedsheets to be used as dressings and other things.
Linda Blough, nursing home activities director, came across an ad several years back.
She and her husband made their way to Barbara and John Brumbaugh believing they could have supplies for activities at the nursing home.
Linda and Barbara had a discussion and decided making bandage rolls would be a good activity for a handful of women.
“Not everyone can do everything but everyone can do something,” said Brumbaugh.
The ladies sit around a table with the old sheets as two women measure and tear apart the bedsheets and another two women roll the long strips up and tie the rolls with scraps using rollers made by Barbara’s husband John.
The women meticulously remove excess string from the strips, neatly rolling and tying the rolls.
“They have their own system,” said Blough.
The handful of women are residents of LuAnn Nursing home with limited mobility and capabilities. The resilient handful still manage to make rolls of bandages. Brumbaugh herself comes down from Goshen in a back brace.
“I thought it was a neat idea,” said Blough. “It gives them (residents) purpose and makes them feel useful.”
Barbara’s mother and sisters had worked with Lutheran World Relief.
She wrote to the organization asking about the bandages and was referred to the American Baptists White Cross.
American Baptist women have been providing surgical dressings, bandages and other hospital supplies for the Red Cross as far back World War I.
“We take so much for granted, so much,” Brumbaugh said.
The recycled bedsheets have a variety of uses: post operative dressings and umbilical cord wrappings, keeping flies and dirt off of wounds, used as casts when dipped in plaster, a sling, used to make tourniquets, holding IVs and mosquito nets.
The bandages are packaged and blessed by Father Bob J. Lengerich of St. Dominic Catholic Church. The ladies send their bandages to Indianapolis then to Windsor, Pa., before the cargo makes its way overseas to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It’s one of those things where you have to understand where they (the Congolese) are coming from and what their needs are,” Brumbaugh said.
The bandages are made up of light colored or white bedsheets.
The bedsheets are sterilized and used as bandages while the colored or flannel bedsheets have other uses. Even electrical blankets are used to make delivery blankets for children.
“The more you get involved, the more you realize what can be made with things you throw out,” Brumbaugh said.
Donations are always welcome in its many forms, from bedsheets to volunteering, monetary and trips to and from shipping sites.
For more information or to get involved contact Barbara Brumbaugh at 574-537-4552.