After a long 12-hour shift, Brianna Bissell has one favorite way to unwind.

“I love crafts. I find it very therapeutic, especially during the pandemic,” Bissell said.

She says this little bit of nightly stress relief has become essential after working as a nurse at Saint Peter’s Hospital over the past 12 months.

“As the pandemic got on, everyone was just very fatigued and just kind of holding on by a thread,” Bissell said.

What You Need To Know

  • Brianna Bissell has been a cardiac nurse at St. Peter’s Hospital for three years, but her floor was shifted to a COVID-19 unit at different points during the pandemic

  • After watching patients pass away without their families there to comfort them, Bissell began making hand-tied blankets for patients on the hospital’s hospice units

  • Since January, her charity, Tied With Love, has given away more than 30 blankets to patients and their family members

  • Bissell is raising money for more supplies on her GoFundMe page

Bissell has been a cardiac registered nurse for three years, but says her floor shifted to a COVID-19 unit in the pandemic’s early stages, and again during the post-holiday surge.

“We were experiencing a lot of death and a lot of patient loss, patients dying without their families present,” she said.

As much as it’s helped her process such extreme loss, Bissell says her crafting is truly meant to comfort patients who are facing the end of their lives without their families there to soothe them.

“It’s really hard to see patients in their final moments of life be in the hospital without their families there to hold their hands and support them,” Bissell said, as she worked on making one of her blankets.

Since January, she’s made more than 30 tied, fleece blankets for dying patients in the hospital’s hospice units. She calls her project Tied With Love.

“I’ve given the blankets to various age ranges,” she said, "anywhere from a young mother in her 20s that had just lost her child, to an oncology patient dying of cancer.”

Bissell also provides a second blanket and condolence note to a patient’s family after they pass.