Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 18:42 EDT

How do you best handle the untimely loss of a child?

September 27, 2013

Open Communication

SILVER SPRING, Md., Sept. 27, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Danya International, Inc. (Danya), a communications, research, and technology firm, had an editorial published in USA Today on Friday, September 27. The editorial was part of a special supplement feature covering end-of-life care. It highlighted the healthful effect of open communication when dealing with a terminally ill child. Cynthia Baker, Ph.D., a senior scientist at Danya, interviewed three experts in the field: Sarah Friebert, MD, Director of the Haslinger Family Pediatric Palliative Care Center at Akron Children’s Hospital; Mary Ann McCabe, Ph.D., Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, George Washington University School of Medicine; and Lisa Delong, parent and author of Blood Brothers: A Memoir of Faith and Loss While Raising Two Sons with Cancer.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130927/DC87650LOGO)

Dr. McCabe and Lisa established the benefit of open and honest communication within a family that has had a child diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Dr. McCabe affirmed that “open communication within the family provides a foundation of trust in otherwise scary and uncertain terrain. It helps parents and other family members to face things together and for everyone to feel a sense of belonging.” Similarly, Lisa gave the example of her son Justin, who was comforted by the knowledge that he could talk to his family about any fears or anxieties pertaining to the diagnosis. Lisa then offered her experience of how she established open communication with Justin. She did so by learning to read the cues that signaled he wanted to talk, then acting on those cues and talking to him no matter what she was doing.

Lisa and Dr. Friebert then conceded the necessity of including well siblings of the ill child in discussions about the illness to alleviate any uneasiness or concerns related to the disease. Lastly, Dr. McCabe ended by saying that although families may be apprehensive about open communication, thinking that it will upset the ill child, it is in reality the avoidance of these topics that leads the ill child to feel isolated and withdrawn.

Danya has created a suite of resources created to offer guidance and support for communicating about terminal illness and death called Communication Counts. Communication Counts offers three distinct and separate toolkits, tailored to the stage of the illness the child is experiencing: “Supporting Your Child and Family During Diagnosis and Treatment,” “Supporting Your Child and Family While Transitioning to Supportive Care,” and “Supporting Your Family Through Bereavement.” Danya’s training manuals and guides, developed by the help of scientists and an advisory panel of experts, are now available for free download here. Organizations can purchase the resources here. In addition, our full-length resource videos are available for viewing on Danya’s YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/danyatube. We invite you to explore these resources and benefit from them.

About Danya International, Inc.

Danya creates, delivers, and evaluates innovative behavior change strategies that empower people of all ages and from all walks of life to live healthier and better educated lives. Danya provides innovative services and solutions in the areas of public health communication, research and evaluation, information technology, education and training, program management support, and health product development.

SOURCE Danya International

Source: PR Newswire