In one of the first partnerships of its kind between a children’s hospital and an airport, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital patients and their families now have a private, comfortable space to wait for their flight or transportation to St. Jude in the new multimillion-dollar concourse at Memphis International Airport. The lounge officially opens March 24.
Each week, between 50 and 60 patient families travel through Memphis International Airport to and from St. Jude and their homes. Travel can be stressful and particularly tiring for patients who also may be immunocompromised as they undergo treatment.
“For some of our families, their travel to St. Jude is the first time they’re leaving their hometown or their home country,” said Caron Byrd, director of housing and patient services at St. Jude. “We wanted to create a very welcoming and inviting space to accommodate either a family who has an hour before their flight or has just learned their flight has been delayed and will be at the airport longer than anticipated.”
The private lounge offers families a comfortable and spacious area to wait for their flight or to unwind while waiting for transportation. Amenities include seating areas with charging stations, board games and books. A kitchenette offers complimentary light snacks, tea and coffee. Staffed by St. Jude employees, the lounge includes a flight monitor that provides up-to-date flight status. Families can also receive complimentary transport to their gates.
The St. Jude Patient Lounge was a gift to the hospital from the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority, which incorporated the space into its planning process for the concourse expansion. Airport officials collaborated with The Housing and Patient Services department and the St. Jude Patient Experience office on the design of the lounge. Patient families were consulted and their ideas incorporated into the space.
“St. Jude is setting the standard for pediatric cancer care and the experience patients and their families have during the treatment journey,” said James R. Downing, M.D., president and CEO of St. Jude. We are proud to have worked with the Airport Authority on this first-of-its-kind project, and we’re excited to share this extension of our patient experience with the families of St. Jude.”
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer, sickle cell disease, and other life-threatening disorders. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to 80% since the hospital opened more than 60 years ago. St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. To learn more, visit stjude.org or follow St. Jude on social media at @stjuderesearch.