Our Lady of the Lake Children's Health welcomed Justin Baker, MD, an internationally recognized expert on pediatric palliative care, for an all-day palliatiave care conference at Our Lady of the Lake. Palliative care focuses on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness with a goal of improving quality of life for both the patient and the family, often at end-of-life stages.
Baker is the director of the pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship program and chief of the Division of Quality of Life and Palliative Care of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. As chief, he works with patients who are facing the very real possibility of death. He is viewed as a leader in integrating palliative care into the ongoing care of children with cancer, and he frequently presents on the topic nationally and internationally.
"In palliative care, we look to make every day the best day that it possibly can be for patients and families, to suffer with them, and to try to take on as much of that burden ourselves as we can," said Baker. "As Our Lady of the Lake is building a new children's hospital, fully integrating pediatric palliative care is critically important."
Topics for the conference included improving patient outcomes through integrated pediatric palliative care; ethical decision making; symptom management; spiritual care at the end of life with pediatric patients and their families; and the future of palliative care.
"Dr. Baker has published extensively on pediatric palliative care and done tremendous research on the topic that has really helped to progress the profession and the specialty," said Tracie Major, DNP, APRN-CNS, CPN, clinical nurse specialist for Our Lady of the Lake Children's Hospital. "We're lucky here at Our Lady of the Lake to continue to pursue opportunities to grow pediatric palliative care, and we look to a future of truly having a multidisciplinary pediatric palliative care program in place."
Our Lady of the Lake Children's Health is one of only eight St. Jude Affiliate Clinics, providing the same expertise, care, and treatments as patients at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, but closer to their home, family, and support system, which is a crucial part of a patient’s healing journey.