Surgical scrub technician Jody Hass and registered nurse Diana Colbert wear headbands made by Liz Clauder and her daughters, Frances Jones and Nicole Bettridge. The headbands include buttons that allow masks to loop around things that aren’t a health care worker’s ears. (Courtesy Photo | Luke Jones)

Surgical scrub technician Jody Hass and registered nurse Diana Colbert wear headbands made by Liz Clauder and her daughters, Frances Jones and Nicole Bettridge. The headbands include buttons that allow masks to loop around things that aren’t a health care worker’s ears. (Courtesy Photo | Luke Jones)

Headband-ing together: Quilter and family help make equipment for health care workers

She can turn out 50 per day.

Liz Clauder’s quilting skills are proving useful during the ongoing pandemic.

The Juneau woman has been spending more time at her residence and apart from her grandchildren in light of local and state quarantine measures. She’s been using that time and her stockpile of quilting materials to make headbands with buttons —sometimes sold online as “ear-savers” —that can be worn by health care workers who are required to wear face masks. The buttons give face masks’ loops something to hold that aren’t a health care workers’ ears.

Courtesy Photo | Luke Jones
                                Registered nurses Ruth Dwarshuis and Alison Maxey wear headbands made by Liz Clauder and her daughters, Frances Jones and Nicole Bettridge. Clauder, an experienced quilter, can complete as many as 50 headbands in a day.

Courtesy Photo | Luke Jones Registered nurses Ruth Dwarshuis and Alison Maxey wear headbands made by Liz Clauder and her daughters, Frances Jones and Nicole Bettridge. Clauder, an experienced quilter, can complete as many as 50 headbands in a day.

“This is obviously keeping me at home,” Clauder said in a phone interview referencing the coronavirus pandemic. “I usually watch my grandkids, so I’m very active with a house full of kids. This has slowed me down, and it’s quiet, lonely and boring. It’s really nice to be able to do something.”

Liz Clauder, seen in this photo, is helping to lead an effort to provide ear-saving headbands for health care workers in Juneau. (Courtesy Photo | Luke Jones)

Liz Clauder, seen in this photo, is helping to lead an effort to provide ear-saving headbands for health care workers in Juneau. (Courtesy Photo | Luke Jones)

Clauder, who is being aided in her efforts — from a safe distance — by her adult daughters, Nicole Bettridge and Frances Jones, has multiple family members who work for Bartlett Regional Hospital.

Jones, who is an electronic medical records analyst for the hospital, and Clauder said that connection is how they found out masks can become irritating over the course of a long shift at the hospital. Jones said her husband, Luke, who is a surgical scrub technician for the hospital already distributed some of the headbands to workers in the short-stay unit.

[Preventing a mask shortage before it happens]

“They definitely liked not having the ear loop masks looped around their ears all day,” Jones said Wednesday in a phone interview.

More headbands are heading to workers at BRH and Valley Medical Care, too, Clauder and Jones said.

Clauder’s experience quilting means the headbands made of fabric, elastic and a couple of buttons are typically completed quickly. She said she was able to make 50 on Tuesday and just about that many on Wednesday.

Registered nurse Therese Thibodeau smiles with her eyes while wearing a headband made by Liz Clauder and her daughters, Frances Jones and Nicole Bettridge. (Courtesy Photo | Luke Jones)

Registered nurse Therese Thibodeau smiles with her eyes while wearing a headband made by Liz Clauder and her daughters, Frances Jones and Nicole Bettridge. (Courtesy Photo | Luke Jones)

That quilting background and supplies Clauder had on hand means the headbands are playful as well as timely.

“My mom is a quilter, and she has a huge stash of fabric,” Jones said. “They’re everything from Minions to nice, sedate floral designs.”

Clauder said she’s been able to accommodate requests for Harry Potter and forget-me-not flowers, too.

“Maybe it will put a smile on their faces when they get them because they’re working so hard,” Clauder said. “They’re really our heroes working on the front line.”

• Contact Ben Hohenstatt at (907)308-4895 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt

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