A first-of-its-kind program is being pilot tested at The University of Kansas Health System in Kansas City, Kan., to see how patients respond to a helpful new approach. Partnering with For the Love of Peach, this program provides a “give space” Peach symbol to patients who prefer no physical contact. The symbol is on clothing and accessories, specifically designed to help patients feel protection from any post-operating procedure, health condition or sensitivity. Approximately 300 patients are being provided with either a vest or a poncho with the “give space” Peach symbol. The vest is designed with strategically located post-operative pockets, including chest pockets for padding, breast pad inserts for mastectomy patients and side internal pockets for any surgical equipment. The poncho is designed to be worn over the patient’s lap, over their shoulders, or even on the bed, to signal to others of their need for space.
“We understand that each patient has different needs, so we’re happy to be offering this option to patients who would feel more comfortable with loved ones understanding that they need some space, without having to actually tell them that,” said Dr. Richard Korentager, MD, chair of plastic surgery and burns at The University of Kansas Health System.
This program was founded by Carol Winner, who has dedicated her life to improving the health of others during her career as a public health educator and advocate. Carol recognized the need for an option like this for patients. At the same time, she was a caregiver to her mother while she battled cancer and recovery. Her mother experienced extensive surgeries and radiation, leaving her immune system compromised and physical touch painful. Because of Carol’s experience in the healthcare industry, she was able to recognize her mom’s risk from a simple well-intentioned hug or kiss.
“We are compassionate human beings. Sometimes, our touch can hurt and our germs can harm,” said Winner. “The give space Peach is a beautiful symbol that quickly cues others that the wearer needs space to heal, or just to be. No one needs know why you are wearing a Peach – it does not label anyone as to whether they have touch or germ sensitivities, chronic illness, or have had a major surgery. When others see the Peach, they will know what to do.”
In the video below, Carol Winner talks more about how her mother and a close friend, Dr. Julia Chapman, helped inspire the Give Space Peach. Dr. Chapman, MD, surgeon at The University of Kansas Health System and cancer survivor explains from personal and professional perspectives why she thinks the Give Space Peach will catch on. The video also shows patients receiving and reacting to the Give Space Peach blankets and ponchos.