Nimkee Angel Day in SickKids NICU

It is becoming more common to see families posting photos at the end of their child's life and yet each time I see such pictures I am thankful for the parents amazing sharing. My Baby Is An Angel is a blog by a mom of six children honoring one child still born and later named Noah-Alexander (along with her guilt about the silence accompanying this birth) and Bennett-Chadlen "Nimkee" born with Trisomy 13 who died at one week. The website includes links to resources and other family sites and Melissa later wrote a letter wishing parents and staff were more aware that Trisomy 13 is not always a condition 'incompatible with life'. Family photos on Picasa include a poignant transition from mom's pregnancy to grief and death in the NICU and a beautiful set of photos by a photographer with Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep of Nimkee's death in SickKids NICU. Bennet died surrounded by his family's love and tears and father Chandlen playing a song composed for his son. You can hear the song accompanied by the pictures below. Thanks to Melissa and Chandlen for sharing these moving and unforgettable images of Bennet's life.

Under a video of Bennet, his mom writes:

~Breaking the silence of the taboo subject of Infant Loss~

~The background music was written and recorded by Bennett-Chadlen's father, Chadlen. He wrote the guitar portion while he was in the NICU, and this is what our sweet boy heard as he drifted away in our arms.....this montage captures our final moments together. Viewer discretion is advised. I realize that many of you may not understand why a family might want these photos, but they're all we have to hold onto.

~I share this with's your choice whether you view it or not. Upon viewing, you will understand what we went through....please show compassion to any grieving mothers that you know. Even if you don't have words, a tender touch is enough.

~I'm here to break the many like me don't have to feel so alone.

~We will never forget, and we want you to always remember.

Nimkee's Facebook page has 169 members!

Have A Heart Toydrive for CCCU and PICU

On Friday, Pamela and I picked up toys at several spots downtown for a toydrive with several SickKids families.

Child Life worker Kim 0'Leary had sent a list covering toddlers to teens and from rattles and aquariums to Nintendo DVs. The Sasha Bella Fund donated $2,500.00 to Rehab for toys and tools and The Wire filled a trolley to cover the ICU lists and art supplies, cars, mini ponies, clay, games and books.   

At 2p.m Friday the families met and filled a chunk of the Atrium by the front desk. I took this picture with my phone of the Celsie and Veloso and Schultz families.

"a healthy dose of social networking just in time..."

The headline "SickKids receives a healthy dose of social networking just in time for the holidays" made me very happy, not the least because the arrival of Upopolis was a complete surprise. I first saw the news in a short Metro article and Zach made me smile - "“You hear nurses using words, words like febrile, so with this I can look it up" and get homework assignments, setup blogs, email and instant message. Zach again:
“It’s really user-friendly. It’s a bit more than Facebook. You can connect with other patients and friends as well, so you can keep up with them. You’re able to feel as normal as you can.”

Upopolis tags itself as "a healthy space for kids to connect" and the factsheet describes it as software as a service from the private foundation Kids' Health Links Foundation hosted by Telus on a private network at several Canadian hospitals since 2007 - it is specifically for kids to communicate with family, friends, teachers and classmates and access medical information and hospital events and resources. There is no public registration so I expect referrals are initiated with hospital and care centre staff. Techvibes writes about Christina Papaevangelou and her father Basile working to find "ways to help kids in care stay connected" and developing a partnership wtih McMaster Children’s Hospital and TELUS. Kudos to all who made it happen!

Readers of the blog may remember an earlier post about the large international forum AbilityOnline which I joined just over a year ago. So far no news of the planned upgrade and the website has news from 2007. It is sad to see such important communities trapped in hard to update one-off web platforms.

Two years ago when I spoke to SickKids technical services about family-staff web communication it was confirmed the hospital was seeking a social media platform. I am pleased they chose a patient inspired software made in Canada and along with Care Pages, SickKids now supports patient to patient and family to public communication. The tools cry out for hospital wide wireless, a service rolling out in other Canadian paediatric hospitals. Expect computers in family resources areas and on the floors to be saturated. Free wireless supports hospital family diversity since families with means have a Rogers or Bell wireless stick.

CFAN needs your help for survey on parental/caregiver presence during induction and recovery. Please circulate.

From Sue Robins of  The Canadian Family Advisory Network

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

We are writing to ask for your help in circulating a survey link for parents and caregivers about parental/caregiver presence at anesthesia induction and post-anesthesia recovery.

The survey is part of the Child and Family in the Healthcare System project of the Canadian Child and Youth Health Coalition (CCYHC). Some of you know about the project; some of you know about the Coalition, and some of you know about both, but please allow us to provide the essential background for those who don't. (Much of this information is also included in the attached PDF to be forwarded to parents and caregivers as well as on the last page of the online survey).


The Canadian Child and Youth Health Coalition (CCYHC) is a collaboration of ten major national organizational and program members working together with a common vision to advance the cause of child and youth health care in Canada. We represent The Canadian Family Advisory Network (CFAN) on the Coalition's Steering Committee. You can find out more about the Coalition and its members at<>

CCYHC has established the Child and Family in the Healthcare System Working Group to explore the ways in which children, youth, and their families are supported and included within the healthcare system, a task that entails, among other things, identifying differences in practice at various hospitals.

The Survey

The Working Group's first project is the investigation of hospital practices related to parental presence at anesthesia induction and post-anesthesia recovery. Different hospitals have different practices as to if, when, and how parents/caregivers can accompany children into the operating room until the children are asleep and in the recovery room when the children are waking up from anesthesia.

Please note that though the issue is generally called "parental presence ..." we are keen to hear from other caregivers (grandparents, foster parents, aunts, etc.) who may have been present-or who perhaps wish they could have been present-with a child or youth during induction or recovery.

We would appreciate your help in distributing the link to the survey to all parents or caregivers on your advisory council or, for those of you who work with families in a different capacity, to those parents and caregivers you think would, because of their experience with a child or youth who has had one or more surgeries, be interested in contributing.  The survey is submitted automatically electronically online, so there's no need to collect surveys - it is all paperless.

Please cut and paste the text (including the survey website link) at the bottom of this page and forward to your contacts.  (We have already sent another survey to all of the academic health centers that have paediatric surgical programs and to a number of community hospitals across Canada, and we will soon send another survey to members of youth and children's councils.) The survey takes about 20 minutes to complete.

We hope most of the parents and caregivers can complete the survey by December 15, 2009.

Survey Results

The names of all responders and the name of the hospital where their children's surgery or surgeries were performed will be kept confidential. Any reports, publications, or presentations resulting from the surgery results will contain only summary data that will not identify the parents/caregivers or the hospital. We will be happy to share the results with all those who contributed and with all the Coalition members. Working with the survey results, the Working Group, in consultation with CCYHC, will determine best practices and develop recommendations that will be shared with all the hospitals.

On behalf of our Working Group, thank you for your interest and participation. If you have any questions, please contact us by calling Melissa Clulow (CCYHC National Coordinator) at 514-656-1268 or by emailing

Respectfully yours

Frank Gavin and Sue Robins

Co-Chairs, Child and Family in the Healthcare System Working Group


For you to cut and paste to your family contacts:

Subject:    Survey: Parent/Caregiver Presence at Surgical Induction and Recovery

Dear Friends and Families -

We are writing to ask for your help in completing a survey for parents and caregivers about parental/caregiver presence at anesthesia induction and post-anesthesia recovery.  The survey is part of the Child and Family in the Healthcare System project of the Canadian Child and Youth Health Coalition (CCYHC).

Please click on the link below to complete the online survey which asks about your experiences going with your child into surgery and the recovery room.

A full description of the survey is attached. This description also appears on the last page of the online survey.

The survey should take approximately 20 minutes to complete.

Please submit your responses by December 15, 2009.

Thank you very much for your time and attention - your input is important to us!

Holiday Toy Drive for SickKids

From Nov 15 - Dec 15 please join the families of Wyatt, Phoenix, Sasha, Owen and Sawyer for a holiday toy drive for children at SickKids Hospital.

All of us know first hand how tough it is to have a child we love dearly in the hospital over the holidays and the smiles these toys bring and the warmth created for the kids and families.

Toys must be new for infection control and unwrapped and will be distributed by Child Life throughout the hospital. A list of needs by age group is below with a priority request for newborns and teens. Gift cards from major retailers are welcome too. Please email - to get the address to mail a gift card, for assistance if you wish to help but cannot get to a drop-off or if your business is interested in donating or being a drop off location - please let us know!

Thanks to our participating businesses and to 99.9 Virgin Radio and Talk radio 1010 for the daily public service announcements promoting the Toy Drive!

Thank you and please spread the word!

With love,

The families of Wyatt, Owen, Sasha, Phoenix and Sawyer


Stuff a Truck at Nurse Chevrolet Cadillac - 1530 Dundas St E, Whitby, Ontario

Stuff a Cooper at BMW / MINI Durham - 100 Achilles Rd, Ajax

The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy - 1288 Ritson Rd N, Oshawa

Blumberg Segal LLP Barristers and Solicitors - 390 Bay St Suite 1202, Toronto

Finnish Credit Union - 191 Eglinton Ave E, Toronto

Alcona Chiropractic & Natural Health, Dr Mark Kohut - 896 Innisfil Beach Rd, Innisfil

Fenelon Falls Real Estate - 20 May St, Fenelon Falls

Dockside Restaurant - 12 Water St, Fenelon Falls

Edgetown Ford - Hwy #36, Bobcaygeon

Aimee Alabster, Wedding and Event Planning Services - 58 Boundbrook Drive, Brampton



• Rattles
• Soothers
• Musical toys
• Blankets
• Cuddly toys
• Books
• Infant CDs


• Duplo
• Building Blocks
• “Little People” sets (Fisher Price®)
• Board Books, Lift the flap books
• Dolls
• Trucks
• Cuddly Toys
• Make believe sets i.e., kitchen utensils,
plastic food etc.
• Crayons
• Paper
• Colouring books
• Magnadoodles
• Play dough (individual containers)


• Board Games i.e., Guess Who, Candyland, Hi-Ho
Cherry O, Snakes and Ladders, Connect Four etc.
• Decks of Cards i.e., plain, UNO, Skip-Bo, Go Fish etc.
• Cuddly toys
• Books – early readers and chapter books
• Markers/Crayons/Pencil Crayons
• Paper/Colouring Books/Activity Books
• Crayola Model Magic
• Crayola Window Writers
• Craft Kits (Klutz books)
• Small hand held electronic games
i.e., Gameboys with games


• Gift Cards (HMV, Best Buy, EB Games, Indigo)
• Electronics (Xbox 360, Playstation 3,
handheld gaming systems, ipods, mp3 players)
• Writing Journals
• Music, DVDs, video games
• Word Searches/Crossword Puzzles/Sudoku
• Board Games
• Decks of cards
• Toiletries
• Sports items i.e., balls, sports cards etc…


2009 Innovation Fund palliative research grant applications

The 2009 grants focus on the staff experience, research foundations, perinatal care and fathers.

Experiences and perceptions of paediatric health professionals providing end of life and palliative care.
Barbara Muskat, PhD, MSW, RSW, Samantha Anthony, MSW, RSW, Res.Dip.SW, Laura Beaune, MSW, Res Dip. SW, David Brownstone, MSW, RSW, Pam Hubley, RN, MSc, ACNP, Christine Newman, MD FRCP(C), Adam Rapoport, MD, FRCPC, MHSc, The Hospital for Sick Children

A systematic review of bereavement after the death of a child: A meta-synthesis of literature on family bereavement experiences and interventions
Mary Ellen Macdonald, PhD, Stephen Liben, MD, Montreal Children’s Hospital; Susan Cadell, PhD, Wilfrid Laurier University; Ms. Lorie Kloda, Life Sciences Librarian, McGill University

Perinatal Palliative Care: Measuring the Impact of Manitoba’s Pediatric Symptom Management and Palliative Care Service (PPCS)
Simone Stenekes RN, MN, CHPCN(c), Mike Harlos MD, CCFP, FCFP, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA); Carla Ens PhD, Manitoba FASD Centre; Devon Brown RN, BN, Harvey Max Chochinov MD, PhD, FRSC, University of Manitoba; Susan Kuling, Royal University Hospital, Saskatoon Health Region

Understanding the experiences and support needs of fathers of children with life-limiting illnesses
Dr. David Nicholas, PhD, University of Alberta; Laura Beaune, MSW, Res. Dip. SW, Dr. Maru Barrera, PhD, The Hospital for Sick Children; Jonathan Blumberg, The Sasha Bella Fund

When The Sasha Bella Fund asked the Palliative Care Service about their priorities going on three years ago, a key request was to help fund research by the new research interest group TRAC-PG. Supporting a new national network of committed paediatric palliative reseachers was naturally very appealing and lead to a modest palliative research Innovation Fund. In November 2008, two of four study applicants were supported - this year four of twelve applicants were supported My second year on the selection committee again left me amazed at the knowledge of research and clinical practise and the attention to detail and constructiveness of feedback. Here is a  list of TRAC-PG completed and in progress studies showing it's wide ark over 5 years.

2009 Sasha Bella Fun Day PICTURES

Photo: Bryan McBurney


We want to thank the families who came out and donated for making the 2009 fun day such an amazing time! Families, performers and volunteers - you were all so wonderful!

We feel lucky that such generous and talented people helped SickKids and Bloorview Kids Rhab and celebrated Sasha on such a beautiful sunny Sunday. Many people told us they felt the love in the room.

Warmest regards and a big THANK YOU! Between web and on the day donations we together raised almost $20,000 for SickKids and Bloorview.
Pamela and Jonathan

p.s the 2009 event website is still open - NO percentage of a dollar donated to The Sasha Bella Fund goes to administrative overhead, it all goes to family centred and interprofessional projects.

Photo: Bryan McBurney

Dr. Jonathan Hellmann, Clinical Director of SickKids Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, talks about staff working with families in a new Family Centred Care Family Care Committee that The Sasha Bella Fund helped birth with other SickKids families. Photo: Bryan McBurney

Charlie and Little Fingers Music take their bat energy to the floor and get kids and parents alike on their feet and claws, clapping their clackers. Photo: Bryan McBurney

Photo: Bryan McBurney

Mia stares up at the performers. Photo: Bryan McBurney

Volunteer Jonathan Gould channels earlier clowning and juggles for son and dad. Photo: Bryan McBurney

The photographer's son. Photo: Bryan McBurney

Tom Davis and Rachel brought us delicious smoked brisket sandwiches, smoked ribs and all beef steamed hotdogs from The Stockyards. Photo: Bryan McBurney

Sasha loved her Raggedy Annes. Did you know? Raggedy's creator made her for his dying daughter and it was later taken up as a symbol of the anti-vaccination movement. (Sasha had all her vaccines regularly)Photo: Bryan McBurney

Photo: Bryan McBurney

Bloorview Kids Rehab therapeutic clowns Helen and Janet. Photo: Bryan McBurney

Golden voiced Deborah Maes brings folky kids songs to the families. Photo: Bryan McBurney

With the help of our McNulty neighbours, The Young Choung Taekwondo Academy demonstrates taekwondo in group and solo breaking of the boards. Photo: Bryan McBurney

Michaela breaks her board. Michaela knew Sasha and last year organized a lemonade and cookie stand at her home for The Sasha Bella Fund.
Photo: Bryan McBurney

Sho Mo + The Monkey Bunch gave us their super tight, high energy kids music as our fun day finale.
Photo: Bryan McBurney

Photo: Bryan McBurney

SickKids inaugural palliative research symposium - keynotes by Dr Adam Rapoport and Kim Widger

SickKids inaugural paediatric palliative research symposium began with keynotes from palliative care doctor Dr Adam Rapoport and palliative researcher Kim Widger.

Adam showing exciting growth in palliative research over a decade from a Pub Med search showing 10 results for "paediatric palliative care" in 1990 and 80 in 2008; "paediatric oncology" however displays 1500 studies. Palliative studies are still largely descriptive and observational and there is a "need to design quantitative studies."

An ethical challenge to palliative research posed by Research Ethics Boards (REBs) is their view that palliative children are "particularly vulnerable". Three criteria hold sway: in so far as research posed a "minimal risk" to the subjects, REBs continue to have grave concerns about negatively impacting parents psychologically and adding to their traumatic experience. In terms of the "benefit" to the subjects, since there is little medical benefit, research can be seen to satisfy altruistic needs, help create meaning and legacy building and be both challenging and rewarding. The third, generation of "generalizeable knowledge", offers the strongest argument however the REB wants to see only a "minor increase over minimal risk" to subjects.

REBs try to protect children and families from "unreasonable risk" and may presume that (ethical) risks to palliative children in a proposed study are the same as non-palliative children. REBs may deny choice to palliative parents and children to participate.

REBs are extremely concerned about parental informed consent and lack of child autonomy to refuse to join a study. Also some parents do not wish that their child know they are dying. It is important that parents know they can decline or drop out at any time with no consequences. Pamela Hinds shows parents were as comfortable declining palliative research as non-palliative research.

Kim Widger started with the virtual impossibility of fully randomized controlled trials, the gold standard of medical research. Getting the minimum 40 participants group in a new model and old model cohort would be logistically difficult and ethically problematic for the relationship based discipline to deny half the group advanced palliative care. More feasible may be not randomized but quasi- experimental using two hospitals with different care models. They also are descriptive or use expert opinion about standards and norms of practise.

As to what research can measure, we look beyond health status (as all eventually die) to quality of death, quality of life, family health status, location of death and patient and family satisfaction: sometimes families describe horrible deaths but are satisfied with the care.

With children, the planning of care appears more important to families than the location of death.

Research creatively uses children drawing and mapping with a color pain scale and use of parents as proxy for their children based on the amount of time spent with them.

Research is complicated by the small numbers traversing a large number of disease groupings. Researchers must consider the best time and manner to communicate with parents and allow it to be easy to withdraw, which can compromise a study or instrument development's validity. Parents want choice as to whether they participate and the manner and they want reassurance their feedback gets back to caregivers.

Kim concluded by calling for sharing of evidence we do have, working as a team with parents, seeing the joys and rewards that come from the effort and addressing the "appalling representation" ethnographically due to expense and difficulty of finding research assistants, also pointing to a need for more international teams.


Adam Rapoport joined the Max and Beatrice Wolfe Children’s Centre, a part of the Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care, as the pediatric palliative care consultant in June 2009. He also works as a general pediatric hospitalist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, where he spends most of his time providing care to children with chronic complex conditions. After completing his final year of pediatric residency as Chief Resident, Adam entered into an Academic General Pediatric Fellowship. During his fellowship he obtained a Masters of Health Sciences in Bioethics at the University of Toronto and pursued further clinical training in the field of pediatric palliative care. His academic work focuses on the intersection of his 3 primary interests: pediatrics, palliative care and ethics. Adam and his wife Mia are kept very busy by their 2 daughters, Lilah (22 months) and Chloe (5 months)…and they love every minute of it!

Kimberley Widger began her PhD studies in September 2006 at the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto. She is supported in her studies with a Fellowship from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research. Prior to moving to Toronto, Kimberley was as a Clinical Nurse Specialist with the Pediatric Palliative Care Service at the IWK Health Centre and an Adjunct Professor at the Dalhousie University School of Nursing in Halifax, NS. She is a member of the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Nursing Examination Committee and is on the executive of the Canadian Network of Palliative Care for Children. In her doctoral research she is developing an instrument to measure the quality of care provided to dying children and their families from the perspective of bereaved parents. Kim and her husband Mike are also kept busy with their two children, Rebecca (6 years) and Ryan (4 years).

Palliative expert panel - myths surrounding paediatric palliative research

"What are the biggest myths surrounding research?" was the expert panel focus, moderated by Maria Rugg, former SickKids Advanced Practise Nurse to the Palliative and Bereavement Service, now seconded to the Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario. The panel comprised of:

Elizabeth Peeters, b.r.a.i.n child president, member of SickKids Research Ethics Board, grieving mother and sibling

Dr Christine Newman, SickKids Palliative and Bereavement Care Service

Dr Adam Rapoport, Palliative Care Consultant, Max and Beatrice Wolfe Children's Centre

Randy Zlotnik Shaul, SickKids bioethicist

Maria: "Is it fair to ask families to participate in research?"

Zlotkin Shaul: It is "fair and reasonable to offer parents the opportunity."

Rapoport: It is "unfair not to".

Newman: Asking families "should be mandatory...I see five families here who have helped me."

Elizabeth: "To not get chance for research is taking away our choice. We don't have a lot of choices."

Maria: "What are the biggest myths surrounding research?"

Rapoport: "That there is nothing to be gained by the (palliative) individual."

Newman: "That families are too vulnerable... They are often the strongest patients."

Elizabeth: "That families have too much on their plate; let us make the decision!"

Maria: "When is the right time to speak"

Rapoport: "When we chose 3 months it was more for the REB; we want to capture info as closely as possible."

Newman: "Waiting equals protectionism, you are never over it. We want real time info. Parents can decide."

Zlotkin Shaul "Problem perhaps in that REBs not part of the wider conversation. Help educate REBs so you are on the same page; if you have better data please share with them."

Maria: "Its important to see that it's not 'them', it's all of us."

Maria: "What are the next steps?"

Elizabeth: how death effects the wider family

Newman: more work on siblings, push back during the palliative phase, include the voice of the child, starting to see inutero palliative care, look at myths to debunk, work with REBs on the time barrier to enter a study after the child's death

Rapoport: descriptive studies ok, now need more experimental designs and head to head trials otherwise we are researching hospital silos

Zlotkin Shaul: an interesting model was a summer camp with senior researchers on pregnant women who took a week to meet and brainstorm challenges with research and with REBs

Nurse comment: expand to rural areas too!

Jonathan: not being asked about Sasha's death afterward felt bizarre

CCCU adopts Vital Smarts communication training

SickKids CCCU have started a new communication program based on Vital Smarts (Health Care) training for Crucial Conversations and Crucial Confrontations, started from a study aiming to "create cultures of safety" in partnership with the American Association of Critical Care Nurses and leading to their their joint publication, "Silence Kills: The Seven Crucial Conversations for Heathcare".

- 84% of doctors have seen co-workers taking shortcuts that could be dangerous to patients

- 88% of doctors work with co-workers who show poor clinical judgement

-fewer than 10% of physicians, nurses and other clinical staff directly confront their colleagues about their concerns

By providing your info you can download an occupational questionaire that identifies key team and communication barriers.

Dispelling Myths: Benefits and Challenges in Palliative Research with Children and Families







Grand Rounds • Panel Discussion • Café Scientifica Parent & Researcher Workshops • Evening Social

Open to family members, researchers, clinicians, and volunteers.

WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 14, 2009 at SickKids

Laura Beaune:
More information
Team for Research with Adolescents and Children in Palliation and Grief

Sponsored by:
SickKids Foundation
Sasha Bella Fund for Family-Centred Care

October 18, 2009 fun-day program and sponsor update

Fund-Raising Website launched

Please register, setup a pledge page and invite friends and family and co-workers to help you, or use the donate option.

With the SickKids Foundation web tools, fund-raising doesn't get any easier than this! In a few minutes you can setup a page, customize the picture and text or use existing content and send emails from the website or share the event page or your sponsor page via your Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn accounts.

Be a part of family-centred care innovation at SickKids and Bloorview Kids Rehab. Help families and staff communicate and collaborate better during a family's scariest time.

Register for the October 19, 2009 Fun Day and join us on the day

Setup pledge page and invite friends and family to sponsor you as pledges made up the bulk of last year's donations

Sponsor a friend or family member who has setup a pledge page

Donate to The Sasha Bella Fund for Family Centred Care

Update on Program Highlights

Meet a Bloorview Therapeutic Clown duo as they improvise with the crowds after registration.

One of the clowns will tell you more about their amazing program during the Opening welcome.

Did you know that the Bloorview clowns are included in team family rounds at Bloorview? See the therapeutic clowns in action on a CBC program that also looks at children's fear of clowns.

Exciting entertainment

Sho Mo + The Monkey Bunch: a huge crowd favorite at the 2008 fundraiser returns again!

Charlie of Little Fingers Music: kid's musician, teacher and composer engages us in song and performance

Rhythmic by Nature: interactive drumming with Terri Segal

Toronto Dance Vibe: dance performance

Deb Maes: phenomenal kids musician with a golden voice mixes up kids songs and folk favorites

Noah Klar: Sasha's uncle who performed at her first birthday party will sing songs from his upcoming album

Yummy Nut Free Food and Snacks

RaviSoups returns with a delicious soup like only Ravi and Ratha make.

The Stockyards Tom Davis will fill his smoker for us with brisket, chicken and ribs, along with all beef dogs and great fries. Checkout pictures of the amazing fare at The Stockyards.

Mildred's Temple Kitchen: phenomenal deserts by legendary Toronto fine dining establishment formerly called Mildred Pierce

Salads, juices, fresh popcorn and other yummy snacks.

Games and Events

Carnival games: Hockey Slapshot (clinic and high score prize), Golf Putt, High Striker, young-uns duckpond
Young Choung Taekwando Academy demo
Arts and crafts

Silent Auction

Flight and 4 nights for two in Vegas's Circus Circus Casino and Hotel courtesy of Pacesetter Travel

One day golf package for four donated by Muskoka Bay Club, one of the best new golf courses in Canada

Old Timers from the hall of fame hockey game, Nov 8.
Theatre tickets and season's passes.
Kids toys and clothes.
Fitness and spa classes.
Professional photo sessions.
Gift baskets.
Software and computer games

To support the silent auction, or get a solicitation letter to help you, please email - all sponsors receive a gift in kind receipt from SickKids Foundation.

The 2009 committee

A big thanks to our amazing committee!

Alison Goldman, Evette Wade, Jonathan Blumberg, Lisa Singer, Lisa Leung, Pamela Stein, Rachel Moses, RonniLyn Pustil

Major Sponsors & Silent Auction Donors 
Blumberg Segal LLP
Innovative Financial Partners Ltd
Microsoft Canada
Mildred Pierce Group
Muskoka Bay Club   
Pacesetter Travel 
Ravi Soups 
Sho Mo + The Monkey Bunch 
The Stockyards


Beverley Daniels Photography, Blue Banana Market,  Cadbury, Canada's Accident Rehab Institute, Capital C Communications, Deborah Maes, Delta Art and Mirror, Earth Child, Elmwood Spa,, Kosoy & Bouchard, Little Fingers Music, Nautical Mind, Nightwood Theatre, Mongrel Meda, My Monkey's Uncle (Noah Klar), Parpar, Playful Minds, Pilates Room, Red Thread Design, Rhythmic by Nature, Sandylion Sticker Designs, Satori Urban Wellness,  SavvyMom Media, Spynga, Starbucks, Supermarket, Theatre Passe Muraille,, Young Choung Taekwando Academy

We will update this page until our next update.

Please help with silent auction and event promotion outreach

Over 600 individuals and corporations helped us last year. It was a boom year however and the economic climate has definately chilled. So far we have had some great responses for silent auction requests however we can use more. So if you can provide any item or service, or you know someone else who can, we would love to hear from you!

Favorite items include signed sports memorabilia, restaurant vouchers, tickets to cultural events or locations, health and beauty services, toys and games. The sky is the limit and no item is too small.

We are also looking for food sponsors. If you have a favorite easy to eat on your feet food or a relationship with a chef, distributor or shop we would love them to know about our event!

You can reach us at (replace the AT with @) and we will be happy to followup with the person or company directly.

All contributors will be listed on our day of event promotion and the website.

Thanks very much for your consideration!

Calling all performers and event specialists!

We are firming up the entertainment lineup for our October 18, 2009 fundraiser for Sickkids and wish to hear from any skilled kid's performers.




Please email us at: (replace AT with @)

We offer honorariums up to $125 per person.

The event will be 10am to 3pm at the beautiful new Wychwood Artscape Barns on Christie just south of St Clair.

If you know someone special, please pass on this post for us. Thanks!

CHD Education Day for Families

The first Labatt Family Heart Centre family day will be held Saturday September 12, 2009 and is called Healthy today, healthy tomorrow: An information day for children and families with congenital heart disease at the 525 Bay Marriott close to Sickkids.

"This day aims to provide children and their families with up to date information on congenital heart disease and health related research. Sessions are catered to the learning needs of children and their families 5 years of age and up."

AGENDA Saturday, September 12, 2009

8:00 AM - 8:40 AM Registration and breakfast

8:40 AM - 8:50 AM Welcome and introduction

8:50 AM - 9:10 AM Innovations in heart health

9:15 AM - 10:30 AM Physical activity and exercise

10:30 AM - 11:00 AM Refreshment break

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM Healthy Eating

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Lunch

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM Relationships, independence, self-esteem and having a say in your health

2:00 PM - 2:45 PM Moving towards adult care

2:45 PM - 3:00 PM Refreshment break

3:00 PM - 3:30 PM Sharing lived experiences with congenital heart disease

3:30 PM - 4:15 PM Networking with others

Input was received from 70+ parents sampled during several months of clinic visits. Hopefully future days will include the young child and children who are palliative.

Register online for free

Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering - request for editorial participation for issue on "MOTHERING, BEREAVEMENT, LOSS AND GRIEF"

[This is a post of an emailed request for participation from JARM]

Dear ARM Members and Friends,

The Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering has planned to publish JARM Vol. 12.2 (fall/winter 2010) on the topic of

We are seeking 3 guest editorial board members: 2 faculty and 1 graduate student for the editorial board of this issue.

Duties include preparing over email the call for papers beginning immediately July 2009 (2-3 hours) and then10-20 hours devoted to reading all article submissions and making decisions re: what should be included journal issue (May/June 2010), as well as a 4 hour meeting in Toronto in June/July 2010 to finalize article selection in conjunction with other ARM Journal Vol 12.2 board members.

Please note ARM is unable to pay travel costs for volunteer board members...but we are happy to send a letter of invitation you can forward along to your university/college when seeking funding. One must be a member of ARM to sit on a guest editorial board:

PLEASE EMAIL asap with a short note/bio about yourself and your expertise/work/interest in this area if you would like to be considered for the Journal Advisory Board for Vol 12.2.

PLEASE NOTE: Please only volunteer if you are certain you can assist with all duties listed above.
We've had some issues with recent committees/ have not been able to locate some committee members at the crucial times outlined above
(leaving much of the work to ARM Director and Staff).

Please only volunteer if you can truly commit the time.

Thank you in advance,

Andrea O'Reilly

Association for Research on Mothering (ARM)
Demeter Press
726 Atkinson, York University
4700 Keele Street
Toronto, ON,
Canada, M3J 1P3
416-736-2100 x60366 (fax) 416-736-5766

An Imaginative Partnership: Parents and the doctors who care for their children - Frank Gavin

Frank Gavin's contribution to the May/June 2009 Paediatrics and Child's Health is a must-read for staff and families. He draws on parent/patient feedback and two decades of hospital and health care involvement to tease out themes that resonate with parents when it comes to staff engagement, identifies core barriers to parent partnership and offers vivid, at times surprising reflections:
One quality I expected this mother or some other parent to identify as essential in a paediatrician was never mentioned: empathy. Instead, what she and others seemed to be hoping for was something best called imagination... a need not for the doctors to be feeling what they were feeling but to comprehend the contours of their lives, at least once, from the inside.
He also includes a parent 'map' with almost 30 circles of care and supports created by the mom of a child with cerebral palsy that dramatically shows the complexity of the family's life:

She created an earlier version to help herself and others get an overview of what she called the elements of her son's care and the people involved in that care. More particularly, she had come to realise and to worry profoundly, given life's uncertainties, that no one else possessed anything close to her knowledge of all those elements that made her son's life the wonderful but difficult life it was and is.

Thanks Frank for this rich and beautiful exploration of staff-parent partnership in hospital and at home. The focus on the mom's map I think is an inspired valuation of work that some parents already do informally. The question "How do staff help parent's and children better navigate?" is a constant refrain in hospitals and yet parent's are often doodling and inking the links in care for themselves. Staff and families could create these maps together as a component of that imagining relationship. Should a parent wish to create a map for themselves to show staff, or work on it jointly, these maps could be a super tool and point of reference for a clinic visit and an excellent accompaniment to family white boards, journals and binders. They could start as hand-drawn sketches and then move to PowerPoint templated files. Maybe one-day a clever developer with a small budget could create a website mapping tool available anywhere and anytime online or on the network. Read the full article here.

happy birthday Sash

Here's sister Eve looking at you Peach.

June 6 was Sasha's birthday, June 20 her death-day and June 21 her sister Mia's birthday. Needless to say, June is one helluva month for our family. Pamela pushed the walk to October so we could take it easy, and it has been a month of playing in the garden, planting, bicycling, wagon rides, dancing, bbques. Mia and Eve know Sasha's name and can recognize her in a picture. I expect anytime Mia will ask where Sasha is. Maybe we will have cake and candles on Sasha's birthday after Mia knows more.

She is very much in our hearts. I have to remind myself she is more than the sum of my questions about her care and our work at Sickkids. She was an incredible girl and I feel blessed for the brief time we were physically together. When I recall exact moments of care I am transported by waves of love and grief to heights and depths not imagined.

A new Patient Safety Centre links Sickkids, Sunnybrook and U of T Faculty of Medicine

University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine has partnered with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and the Hospital for Sick Children to create a new University of Toronto Patient Safety Centre that will "foster novel research and education projects aimed at improving patient safety both locally and internationally" and "provide a focus for collaboration across the Toronto Academic Health Science Network including all the affiliated hospitals and all of the health science and related programs at the University." (my emphasis).

This is exciting news because Patient Safety work positively aligns families and staff collaboration efforts. Patient safety is a top level shared focus. Patient Safety research also squarely focuses on the communication problems that account for as much as 60% of sentinel (death and serious injury) events and continuously improved communication is at the heart of family centred interprofessional practise. Patient Safety began as a parent movement advocating new proceedures to learn from and eliminate error and grew with academic research, education, hospital quality and risk management reports and changes to practise, from surgery checklists to hand wash campaigns to involving patients and parents at Rounds and with medications to new thinking on medical error disclosure.

Patient Safety may very well be the communication glue and 'bridge' linking the family-centred bubble around the patient and the interprofessional bubble around the team(s).

Joining Director Dr. Kaveh Shojania as co-lead is Dr. Anne Matlow, Medical Director of Patient Safety and the Director of the Infection Prevention and Control at SickKids Hospital in Toronto.

Go well Brave Warrior

Today Wyatt said goodbye to his mom and the Celsie family and entered the hearts of all those who met or heard of him. He touched so many in his incredibly brave life and was so lucky to have such a devoted mom beside him every day on his difficult journey. Lisa I hope you can take some comfort in knowing the world is a better place for Wyatt and that we are better for knowing your son. Hamba gahle Wyatt.

Physical therapy benefits ICU patients

A recent controlled trial of 104 patients on ventilators in an intensive care unit confirms that "Co-ordinating the efforts of doctors, physical and occupational therapists and nurses can achieve better outcomes in terms of the survival and mental and physical recovery of critically ill patients receiving mechanical ventilation."

"Among the 49 patients who were assigned to early exercise and mobilization — bathing, dressing, eating, grooming, transferring from bed to chair, and using the toilet — 59 per cent were able to walk unaided and carry out these tasks of daily living after discharge.

In comparison, 35 per cent of the 55 patients in the control group who received standard care were able to achieve the same "independent functional status" over four weeks of followup.

People who received the early physical therapy intervention also suffered half as many days of delirium in the ICU (2.0 days) as those in the control group (4.0 days).

Intervention patients also needed a ventilator for fewer days while in ICU (23.5 days versus 21.1 days for control), the researchers found.

"A strategy for whole-body rehabilitation — consisting of interruption of sedation and physical and occupational therapy in the earliest days of critical illness — was safe and well tolerated, and resulted in better functional outcomes at hospital discharge, a shorter duration of delirium, and more ventilator-free days compared with standard care," the study's authors concluded."

As a family-centred care support, the integrated Rehab team can also help interested parents learn how to safely touch their sedated or ventilated child. What about helping parents interested in doing more than read to their child and stroke their hair - is there a place for physical therapists to show interested parents basic forms of therapeutic touch or tiny tot massage? There is debate about the exact therapeutic benefits of touch. Would parents feel less stress or higher satisfaction ratings? Can parental touch in the ICU contribute to healing?

Here is the CBC article on research into physical therapy benefits for ICU patients.

Hospital Reviews Bereavement Practises

A hospital wide directive has been sent to all units asking for a full review of all bereavement practices. I learned about this request when I checked my voice mail Friday morning and heard an invitation to share feedback on Sasha and our family's experience with one of the units that cared for her. My hope is that units will speak to staff and parents, identify best practices and barriers, deepen inter-professional education and competency and offer families more consistent and transparent palliative and bereavement support with particular attention paid to the ICUs. I applaud this directive from the office of the Chief Nurse Executive and Interprofessional Practice Chief.

Palliative researcher Kim Widger seeks to interview families

A 2007 Canadian study estimates that between 5% and 12% of dying children and their families receive specialized palliative care and counselling from a dedicated palliative care program. There is also no consistent followup by the health care system with families after the child's death. To help remedy this reality, Kim Widger, one of the above study researchers, has begun research to develop a survey that can be sent to every family who experiences the death of a child so the health care system can improve palliative care and support. Kim's study has been supported by the Innovation Fund Into Palliative Care Research that the Sasha Bella Fund contributes to. If you know a family whose child has died, who might want to share their experience, whether they were supported by palliative care services or not, we would be very grateful if you can forward them the detailed research description and call for family participation which includes Kim's contact information. The focus group interviews will be held in Toronto and Hamilton over the coming weeks.

To participate or ask any questions about the study please contact Kim Widger at 416-
978-2859 or by email at

Measuring the Quality of Children's End-Of-Life Care: Summary Of Research Project by Kim Widger

A child’s death has a widespread and long-lasting impact on parents, siblings, extended family, the community and those who care for the child. Therefore it is important that the care be of the highest quality.

In this research we are developing and testing a survey which asks bereaved parents to report on various aspects of care provided to their child and family before, at the time of, and following the death of their child. Through a review of existing research with parents we have identified care needed in five areas by parents from health professionals in order to have high quality care. The areas are: connect with families, involve parents, alleviate suffering, share information, and provide bereavement care. The research has three phases. In Phase I will have focus groups with parents. I will ask parents what they believe is important to quality end-of-life care for children and their families. Phase 2 will involve creating the survey questions about quality care. The questions will be based on what parents said was important during the focus groups. When all the questions are created, we will ask health professionals and parents to review the questions to make sure they are clear and easy to understand. We will also ask if the questions seem to be about quality care and if anything is missing. Between 5 and 10 parents will take part in Phase 2 of the study. Phase 3 of the study will involve about 100 mothers. These mothers will answer all of the questions so we can learn about the quality of care that they received. We will also see how well the questions work to measure the quality of children’s end-of-life care. Part of the study will also look at the best way to ask parents about the care they received and to make sure that these type of questions do not cause a burden to parents.

The survey developed in this study will provide a way for health professionals, health systems, and policy makers to improve care provided to families facing the death of a child. My hope is that once the survey is developed and is shown to work well to measure the quality of care, it will be used in hospitals across Canada to give bereaved parents the chance to give feedback about all of the good and not so good things they experienced so health professionals are always listening to parents and working to give the highest quality care to families.

"One tiny soul, one big forest" is an amazing sharing

It is so rare to read an article on sick children and experience a sense of calm reflection so I was very moved by how Andee Pelan shares the story of her daughter Sadie Sioux who died at age 4 months waiting for a heart transplant. "Any decision you make is the right decision because it's based on the information you have at the time. You have the best intentions – don't bother with regrets, with `if onlys.' There is no sense in that" says Andee. At the same time, "Answers are a dime a dozen. It's questions that are important." Andee reminds us to cherish each moment with our youngsters, be present for the living and ask constructive questions. Thanks to Andee for sharing Sadie with us and to Diane Flacks for connecting readers with her and Geri's beautiful Mother's Day memorial. You can read the article here.

Exciting CCCU family centred initiatives

Here are some initiatives, pilots and family related news from The Cardiac Critical Care Unit, the ICU for the Labatt Family Heart Centre.

Renovation of Room 53 for long stay patients

Arguably the biggest structural change to the CCCU in years will be the complete renovation of the large room 53 facing out onto the Atrium as a long stay location. Improvements include all new decorations to make the room more attractive, more privacy for individual patients and families, new lighting that can be dimmed for each bedside and the turning of the storage room into a play and therapy room. This renovation has been in the planning for almost two years and apparently the work is now imminent.

'My Child's Day' program piloted

Alison Hassall, a Physiotherapy Academic and Clinicial Specialist, and her PT colleagues have been working diligently on 'My Childs Day', a binder that will give parents instructions, diagrams and care plans from all services helping the family. Alison has spent over a year developing the program, consulting with all services in the CCCU and stakeholders concerned that care data was stored outside the computer system, and then piloting the project. This Rehab championed family centred pilot sprang from a staff sense that patient care was becoming increasingly represented by data separated by discipline into separate spreadsheets and that this data was neither accessible nor particularly comprehensible to parents. Nor can the SIMs computer system import other file types like Word documents, pictures etc. Families also want both cutting edge medical support and continuing and expanded relationships with PTs, OTs, dieticians, respiratory therapists and other allied professionals. We are very excited about this family centred initiative and plan to hold a design contest to create an extremely functional 'binder' that could be used by other teams in the hospital. We will be able to share more over the coming months.

New APN in the CCCU assists families and staff

If there is one missing patient support that sums up the difference between a ward and an ICU it is the lack of Nurse Practitioners. These highly trained nurses really get to know your child and feed this textured patient and family information to medical staff. Nursing staff are very excited that Linda Fazari has been rotated from 4 into the ICU as a new Adanced Practise Nurse role in the CCCU to float where needed; staff joke that Linda is now "taking patients" as she regularly follows several patients and families. The experience, knowledge of 4, non-rotating presence and ability to assist both families and other staff was hailed by fellow nurses who shared this exciting initiative.

Parent coffee group extends from 4D to CCCU

I was very happy to hear the 4D parent coffee group, started by social worker Ruta Niedra and colleagues in 2006 will now be extended to the CCCU. Yeah!! Currently about 5-8 parents participate each Friday afternoon and a social worker organizing the groups described the parent ability to air concerns and share information as nipping problems in the bud. Parents are given a feedback sheet to fill out before they leave. It is fantastic news that CCCU parents can talk with other parents in a staff supported environment.

Other Initiatives:

* CCCU is exploring having a nurse who initially meets the family continue to checkin on the patient and family to offer communication and contact consistency. This Contact Nurse will be of particular help to long stay patients and patients facing great uncertainty and their families assimilating lots of new information and getting comfortable with a new team.

* the CCCU welcome binder is to be updated and staff are updating cardiac articles at AboutKidsHealth.

* the Labatt Family Heart Centre "Family Day" will be held in September

* a Transition Day event to support patients approaching adult care will be held in May

Happy Second Birthday Wyatt!!

April 27 is the second birthday of a very special little man named Wyatt. I first heard of Wyatt in November and I was very moved to actually meet him and his mom just a few weeks ago. Wyatt has spent the last 11 months in the Cardiac Critical Care Unit. He has spent all but one night of his brave life at Sickkids Hospital. His mom, Lisa Celsie, has been by his side throughout, loving him, helping care for him, working with staff and riding a rollercoaster of hope, incredible medical challenge and personal sacrifice. Aunt Laura Celsie and the family have held toy drives and a golf fundraiser and are now working with a director of CCCU on a new program that will help staff support long stay children in the CCCU. Today is a huge milestone for Wyatt and his aunt Laura will surprise him with a birthday cake of his favorite movie, Madagascar.

Laura Celsie describes Wyatt as "an amazingly strong and brave little boy who has a smile that would light up any room, and has taught us more about life, love and strength than anyone else I have ever met in my life... Now we are just enjoying life with him, and teaching him new things, and trying to get them home. He enjoys pudding, both eating it and painting with it, and loves cheesecake. He plays with a bedfull of balls, and just this week got to go outside for the first time in over a year,” says Celsie. He blows kisses. “These are really little things, but when you see what we’ve been through, they’re big things."

In February, Lisa was told there were no more medical options for Wyatt and so they are working with CCCU to bring Wyatt home. This week he has been fighting pneumonia and has been uncomfortable as he is weaned from IV to oral morphine. Bloorview has been working on a trolley for his ventilator, oxygen, feeding pump, suction machine and oximeter and now he can spend up to 9 hours on a trach mask with a flexible oxygen hookup.

The family has been busy getting his story out and raising awareness about congenital heart defects (CHDs). You can see Wyatt in Metro and on the front cover in Durham. Here is a link to his totsites journal. Wyatt's story has also been on TV: here is news about the toy drive (see at 8 min 45 seconds) and interviews with Laura and Dr Steven Schwartz, CCCU Head (see at 24 mins).

Wyatt's Warriors are in the full swing of preparations for the Golf Tournament to raise funds for a new training program in the CCCU and I have posted Laura's invitation as well below. This families journey deeply moves me. If you are a golfer, please consider joining them in June for a day on the links and hopefully some details of the CCCU program. The Sasha Bella Fund is very excited by this ICU initiative and grateful for the opportunity to tell you about Wyatt.

Happy second birthday Wyatt!

Wyatt's Warriors 2nd Annual Charity Golf Tournament!!!

(A letter from Laura Celsie of Wyatt's Warriors, a Sickkids family fund setup in honor of Wyatt to support the Cardiac Critical Care Unit)

Hello everyone!

We are now getting ready for our 2nd Annual Wyatt's Warriors charity Golf Tournament! The weather is (hopefully) warming up now, and spring is in the air, and it is time to polish your clubs and shine your shoes!

Come out and join us for a great day of fun, while supporting an amazing cause. Our little Wyatt continues to show us what an amazing little boy he is every single day, and we need to continue to show him and his friends our support. The money raised this time will be going to a new special long term project in the Cardiac Critical Care Unit that is focusing on the care of long term patients in the CCCU. Wyatt is an inspiration for this.

Please remember to spread the word. Anyone at all is welcome to come to the golf tournament, and the more the merrier. Let's fill the course this year! 4 people per team, but singles or doubles are also welcome, we can pair you up!

We need to spread awareness of Congenital Heart Defects. 1 in 70 Canadian newborns will be born with 1 of the 35 known types. CHD's are the #1 birth defect, and the #1 cause of death from a birth defect. CHD's kill more children every year than ALL childhood cancers combined. Only 1 in 800 babies are born with Down Syndrome, yet there is routine prenatal screening done for downs, and not for CHD's. We need to change this, and one day, with your continued support, we will.

Here is the info for the upcoming golf tournament!

Saturday June 6th, 2009
Newcastle Golf and Country Club
Shotgun start at 12:30pm

$130 per person includes golf, cart, and a delicious steak dinner (vegetarian options are available)
Non golfers $30 per person for dinner

Silent auction, raffles, door prizes and more! We are already accumulating some great prize and auction items, so come on out and have an awesome fun day for a great cause.

Contact me at­m or at 289 404 1021 for any questions or to register.


Wyatt and so many others, thank you.

For anyone unfamiliar with Wyatt or his story please visit the following links...

Laura Celsie
Wyatt's Warriors

Please save Sunday October 18 for the Sasha Bella Fund 2009 fundraiser for Sickkids

We are very excited that the Wychwood Green Barns have donated their beautiful new space for for our 3rd fundraiser for Sickkids family centred care initiatives. Wychwood Barns are located two blocks west of Bathurst and St. Clair, one block south on Wychwood. The day will start with a symbolic walk in Sasha's neighbourhood followed by fun events, delicious food and a silent auction. The event committee has met since February and with your support our goal is to raise $75,000 in 2009 for programs helping Sickkids patients and families. If you would like to help with a performance, auction item, event sponsorship or help on the day please email walk @ Thanks for helping Sickkids families! We will post a link to the 2009 registration site in the next few weeks so you can create your own fundraising page.

Wordles - build imaginative care word clouds on the fly lets you create word clouds for your child and family's care experience. You can easily customize layouts, colors and fonts. The left screenshot is a partial wordle of Sasha's life built by entering words in a text box. You can also create wordles from feeds on websites (try for example). Here is a wordle generated by Sasha Bella Forever blog feed (here is another) . Wordles from feeds can pull esoteric items and favor homepage content. At Wordle you can create a word cloud that allows others to imagine what you experience. It would be fantastic if it also could link words like in Powerpoint, determine their order and allow edits after publishing.

Dad bonds with his baby in NICU with words and songs

Dan Yashinsky shares his story telling in the NICU for baby Jacob on Tapestry. Starts at 1 minute 30 seconds.
"I had this very strong feeling that this may be the only time I would ever get to sing to this son of ours. I just said 'look, I know I am probably not supposed to, and I will be real gentle, but I am not letting my son leave until he has heard a lullaby and he's been rocked'. So I reached in ... maybe a half millimeter each way and just rocked him a tiny bit, and I sang lullabies. I sang 'Dance to your daddy, my little laddie, dance to your daddy, my little boy'.... It was the song I sang to his older brother. He made it through the first night. And I still remember the doctor, a dark haired Irish woman, was explaining this and explaining that to me and I just keeled over. I fainted."
Dan bonded with his son with family stories, songs, lullabies, rhymes and even hours of Chaucer that he had once memorized. "I felt like I was trying to persuade him not to die." He offers a simple aid to parents and especially Dads struggling with hope and fear at the isolette or bedside in those confusing first days when staff seem to do all the care. Share your voice. Offer your baby words and songs as an alternate soundtrack to the beeps and ICU noises. The Sickkids NICU has books to read to your kids, ask a nurse or social worker.

Sickkids Nursing Excellence Awards 2009 and Sasha Bella Awards

The weeks before Nursing Excellence Awards have become a rite of spring for the Sasha Bella Fund as we reconnect with Labatt Family Heart Centre to celebrate family centred nursing excellence.

The 2009 committee comprised of Kathleen Johnston, Ruta Niedra, Sherry Ree Stevens, Carrie Morgan, Mayola Mathew, Mary Beyea, Linda Fazari and Dr. Jennifer Russell.

Three nominees were selected: two Cardiac Critical Care nurses nominated by peers and a Critical Care Core Nursing Team nominated by an interprofessional staff group along with the mom of the 23 month old cared for by the team over more than 11 months. This was our first team award and our first with nomination input from a parent.

Next year we will add one more award to celebrate an allied professional who are so important, such as the
social workers, dieticians, respiratory therapists, occupational and physical therapists etc. We also shared news about CCCU family centred initiatives, generating quite a list with considerable staff enthusiasm, and it was a wrap.

Kathleen asked if I wished to meet the family and a few moments later I was back in the shaded and quiet room 53 for the first time since January 2006. In the corner, Lisa Celsie cradled and soothed Wyatt, her incredible 23 month old who has lived almost entirely on 4D and in ICU and continues to surprise everyone
. Meeting Wyatt, hearing about the Celsie family care experience and their engagement of CCCU made this day one in a million.

SickKids' Patient Safety Symposium: Paediatric Patient Safety Indicators: Moving OUR Dots

Partners in Patient Safety 5th Annual Pediatric Patient Safety Symposium

WHEN - Thursday, June 11, 2009 7:00 AM - 3:30 PM EST

WHERE - Hollywood Theatre at SickKids Hospital

8:00-8:30 Registration and Breakfast

8:30–8:45 Welcome and Introduction

Setting the Stage

8:45- 9:15 Dots are hot. But what are they?
Peter Lachman, MD, FRCP, Consultant Paediatrician, Consultant for Service Redesign and Transformation, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust, and Royal Free Hospital Hampstead NHS Trust, London, UK

Little Dots ... Indicators:

9:15- 9:35 Dot Talk: The AHRQ’s Paediatric Indicators
Matthew C. Scanlon, MD, Section of Critical Care, Department of Pediatrics, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, USA

9:35 – 9:55 Pursuing Canadian Paediatric Patient Safety Indicators
Astrid Guttman, MDCM, MSc, Division of Paediatric Medicine at the Hospital for Sick Children, Assistant Professor of Paediatrics and Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

9:55 - 10:15 Positive Deviance: A Culture Change Management Approach to Reducing Healthcare Acquired Infections
Michael Gardam, MD, Director of Infectious Disease Prevention and Control , Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Prevention, Toronto, Canada

10:15 - 10:30 Interactive Session/Questions

10:30 - 11:00 Refreshment Break and Poster Session

Bigger Dots ... Serious Adverse Events and Critical Incidents: Two Perspectives

11:00 - 11:20 The Cincinnati Experience
Stephen E. Muething, MD, Director of Clinical Services, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Division of General and Community Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Centre, Cincinnati, OH, USA

11:20 - 11:40 The SickKids Experience

11:40 -12:00 Interactive Session and Questions

12:00 -1:00 LUNCH

Biggest Dot ... Mortality

1:00 – 1:30 Lessons in Patient Safety from the Paediatric Death Review Committee
Dr. A.E. Lauwers, MD, CCFP, FCFP, Deputy Chief Coroner, Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario, Toronto, Canada

1:30 - 1:45 Question Session

1:45 - 2:15 Poster Awards and Presentation Session

2:15- 2:30 Refreshment Break

Are We Making a Difference in Hospital Mortality: Two Perspectives

2:30 – 2:50 The Lucile Packard Experience
Paul Sharek, MD, MPH, Medical Director, Quality Management, Chief Clinical Patient Safety Officer, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, Palo Alto, CA, USA

2:50 - 3:10 The Melbourne Experience
Karen Dunn, MD, Paediatrician; Emergency Medicine Fellow, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Senior Lecturer, Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia

3:10 - 3:30 Feasibility of a Paediatric Hospital Standardized Mortality Ratio (HSMR)
Canadian Institute for Health Information

3:30 - 4:00 Combined Panel Discussion and Question Session

Children help children facing death at early age

Children at a church in Toronto wished to help children facing death at a young age and for Lent, with advice from their parents, are supporting the Sasha Bella Fund. Here is the writeup in the church's current newsletter:

THE SASHA BELLA FUND for Family Centered Care was created in menory of a little girl named Sasha Bella. Sasha was born June 6, 2004 with multiple health conditions. After a brave fight, she died with her family at her side. Her family thought it was important for families in similar situations to be able to have their child at home during the last stages of palliative care. They established the fund in her memory. It is difficult to think of any child fighting a prolonged terminal illness and so, the children of PromiseLand, with the input of ideas from their parents, decided they wanted to help those who face death at an early age. We invite you to join us in making a contribution to this fund.... This Lent, let’s all help the children of our city to die with dignity.

We celebrate the children's love and generosity and purity of purpose and thank the parents for their support.

Have you ever been uncomfortable asking care questions?

Joy Bennet at Cincinnati Children's Hospital has setup a one question survey focused on a very important question for parents. Please consider helping gather data by filling in the survey. Joy writes:

I am working on a family-led project to help families feel more comfortable asking questions or even stopping care if they have a serious concern.

We have created a short, one-question survey to gather input on the reasons why families are reluctant to voice their concerns. We would love for each of you to answer the survey based on your personal experience as a parent or family member.

We also ask that you consider emailing this link to your family mailing list so that we can gather data from a broad range of families.

Once we've analyzed the results, we will share them with all of you.

The survey is here

Thank you so much!

Joy Bennett
Parent Coordinator and Co-chair
Family Advisory Council
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

Kim Dionne - "Everyday Hero"

Kim Dionne, co-chair of the NICU Family Care Group, and researcher and mentor on collaboration with families was featured as an "Everyday Hero" on Global TV last Friday. All the short clips can be accessed at "Everyday Heroes" and then select "Kim Dionne". The spot also features photos of the the innovative cart that Janis and Diane and NICU created to allow Jonathan Purdy-Flacks to first see sunlight.

Dr Simone Honikman : Perinatal Mental Health Project

Come and listen to Dr Simone Honikman of the Perinatal Mental Health Project talk about her work with young mothers in the communities around Cape Town.

Date: Saturday 7 March 2009
Time: 10.00 am
Venue: Novotel Toronto North York Hotel, 3 Park Home Avenue (off Yonge Street)
Visit for directions.
Price: $25 per person (Cheques made out to "UCT Foundation")
Contact: Diane Stafford 416 637 7981

The Perinatal Mental Health Project (PMHP) addresses the crucial public health problem of mental distress among women living in adversity in South Africa. More than 1 in 3 women in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, experience postnatal depression. Mental health care is a neglected area – even more so in "healthy" pregnant and postnatal women. The focus on the physical to the detriment of the emotional is particularly felt now against the backdrop of HIV and AIDS. The public health service has been unable to address the mental health needs of women from poorer communities - neither within maternity services nor within mental health services. This is despite a wide body of evidence showing that distress in the mother may have long-lasting physical, cognitive and emotional effects on her children.

Dr Honikman will be in Toronto to present two papers at the conference entitled, "Expanding our Horizons: Moving Mental Health and Wellness Promotion in to the Mainstream" .

Through the PMHP, operating from the Mowbray Maternity Hospital since 2002, to date almost 6000 pregnant women have had access to mental health care, free of charge. The alumni breakfast will present the opportunity for Dr Honikman to discuss the advances made within the PMHP over the past few years. Describing her work with empathy and compassion, Dr Honkiman presents a very compelling case in support of her work.

We look forward to seeing you there!
Kind regards

Di Stafford
Regional Director: Alumni Relations & Development
University of Cape Town Foundation (Canada)