Story telling in the NICU

It is the smallest acts of communication that can sensitize us to the power and challenges of family centred care, as Diane Flacks learns from Toronto story teller Dan Yashinsky:
'When asked why he has written Talking You In now, Yashinsky's dark eyes look incredibly sad behind his glasses. He says that, for 16 years, he has been haunted by how much of what he and his wife did was by instinct, without medical sanction or encouragement. "We have to re-educate ourselves as to how not to be passive and helpless in the medical environment. How do you reclaim the human dimension in the scientific and medical world? Science has gone beyond our moral understanding of it. "At the very least, every NICU should give parents nursery rhymes to read to their kids."'
Read Diane's powerful Story Telling in the Neonatal unit where Dan also discloses how this professional story teller could not do for his father what he did for his baby Jacob and a very sad realization made by German ICU nurses.

Dan is American born but has become Toronto's storyteller. He is a member of the Writers Union of Canada, is a recipient of the Jane Jacobs Prize for Ideas That Matter and, as his biography suggests, Talking You In is the most recent addition to his program. The performance piece is a collaboration between Dan and accomplished musician Brian Katz and has toured medical audiences in Newfoundland, Ottawa and Wales, where one listener remembers: "I left with a feeling of hope and a conviction of the power of love and the healing potential of stories.... Your piece demonstrates the importance of communicating with sick and premature babies and letting them know how much they are wanted and loved. "

Dan and Brian presented Talking You In to a group of donors and NICU staff on Sunday August 10m resulting in a dynamic discussion about family involvement with staff. Among the staff was the current clinical director, along with Dr Max Perlman, the clinical director while Jacob was in NICU and his wife Nitza Perlman, PHD who has conducted research on the information needs of parents of neonates. The performance was arranged by Lisa Charendoff of Sickkids Foundation Public Affairs.

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