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Updated February 17, 2005
Dying children and their families often wish to spend quality time together at home as the end of life nears, and doctors at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital facilitate these wishes through Project PATHS (Pediatric Approach To Hospice Support). At the same time they are implementing a system of bereavement care for families who experience the sudden death of an infant or child. The Footprints program combines clinical care, research and education in its approach to caring for dying children and their families.
The SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital Footprints program was awarded a Citation of Honor as part of the 2003 Circle of Life Awards. The Circle of Life Award honors innovation in palliative and end-of-life care.
Read a story about the Footprints program from the SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital newsletter:
The Circle of Life Award is sponsored by the American Hospital Association in conjunction with the American Medical Association, the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. The award is supported by a grant from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Prior to the onset of this project, nearly all children in the greater-St. Louis and southern Illinois region who had progressive, incurable illnesses spent the last days of life in an urban hospital. The situation was driven partly by families who insist on the highest quality technical care for their dying child and partly by the lack of a coordinated system of hospice care.
In collaboration with the Saint Louis University School of Medicine, Cardinal Glennon's program builds and maintains a network of providers in this area to give dying children and their families the care they need, including physical, emotional and spiritual support, without requiring them to leave the familiarity of home.
Under the direction of Suzanne S. Toce, MD, the staff of Glennon and St. Louis University School of Medicine supports local medical providers and hospice programs by conducting area-wide training programs. Through the development of a new palliative care specialty team at Cardinal Glennon, this project is also offering 24-hour consultation to the region's health care providers.
Cardinal Glennon has developed and disseminated educational curricula so that regardless of health care setting, type of health care provider or the funding source, health care workers provide support according to pediatric hospice principles. The project's support to patients' families, including siblings, continues into bereavement.
Detailed ProfileRead a detailed profile of the Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital program. The profile includes a brief synopsis of program characteristics, successes, challenges and more.
Web site: http://www.footprintsatglennon.org
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Promoting Excellence in End-of-Life Care is a national program of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation dedicated to long-term changes in health care institutions to substantially improve care for dying people and their families. Visit PromotingExcellence.org for more resources.