Evidence-based living

Sunnybrook Family Panel: Helping you harness your own wisdom and achieve your own goals

As a parent who has been through the NICU and who has spent a fair bit of time hanging out in clinical spaces since then, I believe in the power of community. I’ve learned so much from other families, and I see parents supporting each other every day … and it’s a beautiful thing. No one can do this alone.

By saying this, I’m not devaluing the importance of clinical expertise – our family owes so much to the clinicians who guided us along our way.  What I’m trying to say is that it’s not one or the other. In order to make the best choices for our children and our families, we need to find a way to take the wisdom that clinicians offer us, draw what we need from our community, and knit it all together into the fabric of our own lives.

At Sunnybrook we like to call this “evidence-based living”, where we take what we know and what clinicians know, and use it to figure out what to do next. What one family wants to do will look very different from another – and that’s great!

This regular feature will give parents and families a space to ask those confusing questions that seem to have so many moving pieces. Can I travel with my preemie? What kind of child care should I be looking for? How can I repair my relationship with my partner after the stress of the NICU?   We will choose one question a month to feature (and we’ll do it anonymously) and we will ask our parent community for their thoughts.

What we won’t be doing is telling you exactly what to do. What we will be doing is showing you choices. We’ll suggest ways of approaching your problem, mention things that worked for us, suggest relevant evidence-based resources, and share our related stories. We won’t give you clinical advice, and we will give you support and space. The way forward is up to you – and the solution you come up with, based on your own goals and your own reality, will be what’s best for you and your family.

Our first question:

“We are newly home with our 27 weeker. He is doing great but we are still nervous about him. And it’s RSV season! Our family does NOT understand and they are being awful. They say we are overprotective and they want him to be at our family holiday parties! What can we do?”

Do you have thoughts for this family? Post them on our Sunnybrook NICU Families Facebook group, or email them to kate.robson@sunnybrook.ca.

Do you have a question of your own? Please email it to kate.robson@sunnybrook.ca.

Thanks for being part of our community!