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Family and Caregiver Resources

A diagnosis of a serious illness can be challenging. It is common for children, siblings, parents, and other caregivers to have a range of emotions and need support related to their child’s treatment.

Two women in play area with one holding a small child

Caregiver housing and campus information

No matter your age, if you are a St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital patient getting treatment and staying in St. Jude-sponsored housing, you must have an adult caregiver staying with you. The exception to this rule is if you are an adult patient who is only at St. Jude for a checkup and are not getting treatment.

Also, older patients who get sedation or anesthesia can only be discharged when another adult is present to accept responsibility for the discharged patient.

In rare cases, an adult patient can get a waiver of this policy if no caregiver is available. A waiver must be approved before the patient can be left alone. The request process takes about 3 days and must be approved by the attending physician, the housing case manager, and the clinical director. To apply for a waiver or for more information call the St. Jude housing case manager at 901-595-2426.

Visitor policies

St. Jude encourages visits to patients because they can help a patient’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Patients feel supported when they can keep up their relationships with others.

Patients are allowed to have visitors who are approved by either:

  • The patient
  • The patient’s legal representative
  • An adult caregiver (usually parents or family members)

St. Jude does not restrict visiting rights based on the visitor’s race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability. Adult patients and minors with certain legal rights may also name a support person.

A patient may not be able to have visitors or may have limited visits if the visits would:

  • Interfere with their care
  • Interfere with the care of others
  • Be a threat to others on campus

Your child’s care team will let you know what you need to do to help prevent infection when you visit. You will be taught how to take steps such as using hand sanitizer and washing your hands when you enter and leave your child’s room.

To prevent infections spread by other people, visitors with signs and symptoms of illness that may spread between people are not allowed to visit. In some rare cases, such as when a person with symptoms is the child’s only support, they will be allowed to visit, but must wear a mask and take other precautions.

To prevent the spread of illness, no more than 3 people at a time are allowed in a patient room, including parents and siblings.

Visitors can enter the hospital through the Patient Care Center (PCC) main entrance, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You may also enter the hospital using the shuttle entrance with the red awning on the south side of the Danny Thomas Research Center.

Visits to the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit

Infection prevention steps are critical for our patients who are treated with bone marrow transplants. These patients have weak immune systems, so they cannot fight off disease like a normal person could. We follow the wishes of the patient’s parents or guardians about who can visit. We screen visitors and caregivers for symptoms of illnesses that can be spread to others, and we keep this information private.

Bone Marrow Transplant Unit visiting guidelines:

  • Visitors may only come between 10 a.m.–9 p.m. daily.
  • All visitors must check in when entering the unit to be screened for illness.
  • Siblings age 7 and older must follow hand-cleaning rules and infection-prevention steps for clean hands.
  • Visitors who are not siblings must be age 16 or older.
  • Visitors are not allowed in the Bone Marrow Transplant common areas.
  • Visitors are screened for signs and symptoms of illness.
  • Anyone with signs and symptoms of illness may be denied access to the patient.
  • The number of caregivers and visitors, combined, can be no more than 3 people in an inpatient’s room.
  • Parents or caregivers are not allowed to sleep on the floor of a patient’s room or in their bed.
  • Only 1 parent may sleep in the patient’s room on the recliner or couch.
  • Patients are not allowed in the parent’s room.
  • A donor sibling of any age may visit on the day of transplant.
  • Visitors should not use the patient’s bathroom or sit on their bed.
  • Visits between outpatient and inpatient rooms are not allowed.
  • Food or drink taken from the nutrition center or family lounge into a patient’s room cannot be returned to common areas.
  • Patients should not visit Bone Marrow Transplant common areas.
  • Some bone marrow transplant patients may be required to wear N95 masks for a time.

Support for families and caregivers

Psychosocial services

The psychosocial services staff at St. Jude offer support, counseling, and help to your family during any stage of your child’s illness. Our team includes psychologists, social workers, chaplains, child life specialists, music therapists, teachers, occupational therapists, and more. Our staff are highly skilled in the psychological, social, educational, developmental, and spiritual aspects of caring for children with cancer and other serious illnesses.

Educational resources

Knowledge is power, no matter what obstacles you face. We provide educational resources to help you understand and cope with your child’s diagnosis. These resources can help with medical, psychological, and medicine-related questions. Explore the Together by St. Jude™ online resource, with helpful information for all families facing childhood cancer.

Learn more

Explore more resources that may be useful to you at St. Jude.