Creating TLC: teddy loving care

October 29th, 2021

This week is National Occupational Therapy Week and to celebrate the occasion, Hospices around Aotearoa were invited to participate in a yarn bombing challenge.

Yarn bombing is the practice of using knitted or crochet yarn to cover (typically public) objects. Our team of Hospice Occupational Therapists came up with an idea that was not only beautiful to look at, but was also very practical and heartfelt.


“To reflect the kaupapa of Mary Potter Hospice, our yarn bomb challenge was carefully created to be mindful of our use of resources, and to result in something of meaning and value that can be used in our care with our patients and their whānau,” says Occupational Therapist Linda.

People throughout the Hospice service took up the challenge to create a joyful ‘teddy bears’ picnic’ to express the caring that is central to all we do at the Hospice, as well as the sharing of manaakitanga and aroha.

“Our teddy bears represent TLC  – tender loving care – or teddy loving care – and will be gifted to the younger ones in our service who need a ‘teddy hug’ to support them through the tough times,” says Linda.As part of this project, the team of keen knitters also created knitted hearts with a special meaning. These hearts were inspired by the knitted heart projects run by the NHS in the UK to bring families comfort during pandemic restrictions.

“We decided the name these hearts ‘he koha aroha – a gift of love’, as a special way to connect patients and their loved ones when they are apart. They can be invited to choose a heart for each other, holding it their hands for a few minutes, infusing the heart with their warmth and love before giving it. These knitted hearts are symbolic gift of love to each other – and a pocket size comfort to hold on to and keep close.”

Alongside the creative legacy work that is offered as part of the Occupational Therapy service at the Hospice, it is envisaged that the hearts created for this yarn bomb challenge will provide the beginning for an ongoing Mary Potter Hospice ‘Holding Heart’ initiative for patients and whānau.