Stanford Medicine Newsletter Updates For the Local Community

 

Community matters

Christopher Dawes, CEO of Stanford Children's Health; Lloyd Minor, dean of the School of Medicine; and Mariann Byerwalter, interim CEO of Stanford Health Care.

   

At Stanford Medicine, the School of Medicine, Stanford Health Care and Stanford Children’s Health work together to provide optimal patient care that often begins before conception and lasts a lifetime — from pioneering fertility treatments to groundbreaking advances in age-related conditions. An integral part of Stanford Medicine, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford is taking the opportunity of its 25th anniversary to reflect on the many patients we’ve cared for from birth through adulthood and how this lifetime partnership has helped advance our understanding of disease and longevity.

This life span care has proved especially important to patients whose diseases once would have prevented them from living beyond childhood — or in some cases birth — and who now lead lives long enough to inspire new frontiers of research and care delivery. These include patients with congenital heart disease, pediatric cancers, cystic fibrosis or organ transplant, who now are living well into their 40s, 50s and beyond.

For these patients, our unified efforts across Stanford Medicine become both lifesaving and life-defining, empowering patients with a broad set of unique medical, surgical, personal and emotional support to treat their illness and help them live their best lives possible. For example, our patients with almost any congenital heart defect routinely have postsurgical survival rates higher than 98 percent. Our Adult Congenital Heart Program — one of the first programs of its kind — specifically addresses these patients’ unique needs as they grow and change to help them do much more than outlive their disease by improving their quality of life.

Our first glimpse of a patient may begin when parents undergo prenatal screening or genetic testing. Specialists follow high-risk pregnancies closely, relying on our diverse institutional resources to help counsel parents on what to expect not only for their newborn’s care but also for their child’s needs as he or she grows older. Even as a specially appointed care team is assembled to support the safest delivery, we’ve already planned ahead to provide the most advanced care in the years to come.

As a child grows, the care adapts to his or her changing needs. For teenage patients living with cystic fibrosis or congenital heart disease, who have undergone organ transplants or survived cancer, transition clinics support a seamless leap from pediatric care at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford into adult care at Stanford Health Care. These clinics teach teens how to adapt to their condition as they grow into adulthood and how to navigate the health care system as independent adults.

This transition is an increasingly important aspect of lifespan care as we recognize that the number of young people aged 15 to 25 who fit the categories of survivor or living with chronic illness will soon rise to 10 percent, up from 1 percent before these lifesaving innovations were introduced.

At Stanford Medicine, life span care lies at the heart of our broad vision for Precision Health, through which we are not only preventing illness and perfecting treatment when it’s necessary but also supporting each individual’s unique needs across the years. This continuum of care allows our physicians and nurse scientists to learn the many presentations of disease across a lifetime and to deliver the predictive, preventive and personalized care each patient needs to live the fullest life possible.

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