Dr. Baker on Integrating Palliative Care into Pediatric Oncology

Justin N. Baker, MD
Published: Thursday, Aug 02, 2018



Justin N. Baker, MD, chief, Division of Quality of Life and Palliative Care, attending physician, Quality of Life Service, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, discusses integrating palliative care into the treatment of pediatric oncology.

Palliative care is coming of age in pediatric oncology, says Baker. If palliative care is integrated early, it is much easier for patients and families to emphasize quality of life and recognize good days during treatment. Baker says that it is better and easier than what is traditionally done, which is a hard stop when curative treatment fails, and then a complete switch to palliative care. It is not good for the oncology team, the palliative care team, and most of all, it is not good for the patient or their family, he explains.

Integration is happening earlier at most institutions, which is great for patients, families, palliative care teams, and for the pediatric oncology team, as well. Taking on all the factors of palliative care at once is too much, Baker says, and specialty teams need to work together hand in hand. These partnerships make a difference in patient’s lives, as well as their families’ lives, Baker concludes.


Justin N. Baker, MD, chief, Division of Quality of Life and Palliative Care, attending physician, Quality of Life Service, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, discusses integrating palliative care into the treatment of pediatric oncology.

Palliative care is coming of age in pediatric oncology, says Baker. If palliative care is integrated early, it is much easier for patients and families to emphasize quality of life and recognize good days during treatment. Baker says that it is better and easier than what is traditionally done, which is a hard stop when curative treatment fails, and then a complete switch to palliative care. It is not good for the oncology team, the palliative care team, and most of all, it is not good for the patient or their family, he explains.

Integration is happening earlier at most institutions, which is great for patients, families, palliative care teams, and for the pediatric oncology team, as well. Taking on all the factors of palliative care at once is too much, Baker says, and specialty teams need to work together hand in hand. These partnerships make a difference in patient’s lives, as well as their families’ lives, Baker concludes.

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