Director: Justin Baker, MD, FAAP, FAAHPM
Our mission in the Division of Quality of Life and Palliative Care is to provide each child living with or dying from a catastrophic illness with state of the art patient and family-centered physical, emotional and spiritual care with the goal of attending to suffering, promoting healing and improving quality of life.
Our Quality of Life Service (pediatric palliative care team) provides initial consultations and follow up encounters in the ICU, inpatient wards, ACU/clinics and home-based settings (including local St Jude housing). We also provide consultations to each of the general clinical services at St Jude including infectious disease, hematology, oncology (leukemia/lymphoma, solid tumor and brain tumor), radiation oncology and ACT (After Completion of Treatment) patients. The high quality services we provide led to the receipt of the 2010 St Jude Clinical Improvement Award. We are also working toward the creation of a city-wide community-based quality of life and palliative care program in collaboration with Methodist Alliance, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and the Department of Pediatrics at UTHSC. Members of the Quality of Life Service currently provide high quality palliative and home-based care for St Jude patients through Methodist Alliance Home Health and Hospice as fully integrated members of their team.
Education is a key priority for the division. We developed a curriculum to teach basic palliative care concepts to our clinical staff and faculty. The seminar is offered throughout the year and is required for all St Jude nursing staff. We also participate actively in St Jude educational activities – tumor board, leukemia/lymphoma conference, fellows’ rounds, grand rounds, etc., with the purpose to integrate palliative care content and enhance the level of palliative care knowledge for all members of the institution. Additionally, we are working toward the creation of a Pediatric Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship training program.
Our staff is actively engaged in establishing state of the art research protocols that integrate palliative care practices into the mainstream of care at St. Jude, utilizing the Individualized Care Planning and Coordination (ICPC) model we developed. We are currently conducting research studies in each of the ICPC care processes. We are conducting additional research efforts in the areas of ethical decision making and Phase I informed consent as well as palliative care education research.
We continue to work diligently toward our vision of becoming an international leader and resource for integrating pediatric palliative care into the ongoing care of seriously ill children, their families and the staff caring for them. Palliative care is an essential component of health care that aims to address suffering in all its forms. Unfortunately, 50% of countries have no access to palliative care. The World Health Organization (WHO) has listed palliative care as a key priority, making it part of the Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer as well as a component of Universal Health Coverage. Health systems must be prepared to respond to the needs of children along the entire care continuum through coordinated services, the provision of multidisciplinary care and information systems that identify challenges at each step. St Jude Global recognizes the significant global needs and gaps in pediatric palliative care. In response, we have formed the St Jude Global Palliative Care Program to provide advocacy, conduct research, aid in capacity building and provide education about pediatric palliative care as we aim to improve the quality of life of all the children suffering from cancer and other catastrophic illnesses and their families.
Division of Quality of Life and Palliative Care
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
262 Danny Thomas Place
Memphis, TN 38105-3678
Phone: (901) 595-4446
Fax: (901) 595-9005
Preferred contact method: email