In the World Childhood Cancer Day we want you to get to know in depth one of the most important pediatric centers of high specialization in Europe and a reference in pediatric oncology.
As an internationally-renowned health and knowledge hub, Barcelona has a number of major specialist hospitals and research centers.
One of these is the SJD Barcelona Children's hospital, whose more than two thousand professionals specialize in caring for women, children, and adolescents and carrying out research into their conditions.
Leader in the fight against childhood cancer and other conditions
SJD is over 150 years old and has worked for many years to make its oncology and hematology department a national and international benchmark in the care and treatment of all pediatric cancers and rare hematological diseases. Each year they treat almost 2,000 children and adolescents for all types of developmental cancers. The department boasts a survival rate of 90% in cases of focal brain tumor and a cure rate of 85% in localized osteosarcomas.
Currently under construction, SJD Pediatric Cancer Center Barcelona is due to be completed in 2022. The center will be dedicated exclusively to the comprehensive treatment of childhood cancer, making it a European benchmark in the field. This will enable the hospital to offer the most advanced treatments to a larger number of children and adolescents.
The hospital also treats patients with other conditions. This includes the diagnosis and treatment of young patients with a range of cardiac conditions such as congenital structural heart defects, rhythm disorders and congenital cardiac pathologies. And the hospital also has experience in more than 1,200 types of rare diseases, making SJD one of the centers in Spain with the most experience in rare diseases.
Lastly, the hospital specializes in the care of women in the different stages of their lives, particularly during adolescence and pregnancy. This includes monitoring pregnancy, whether normal or at risk, the treatment of adolescent disorders and illnesses, and comprehensive care for all kinds of women's illnesses.
Research into pediatric and maternal diseases in the SJD Research Institute (IRSJD)
In order to provide the best care and the most appropriate possible diagnosis and treatment, it is essential to conduct research, innovate, and provide teaching and awareness-raising activities. With this in mind, in the IRSJD was founded in 2015. This research and innovation center in biomedicine is the result of collaboration between the SJD Barcelona, the University of Barcelona, the UPC, the SJD healthcare park and the SJD research foundation.
The IRSJD seeks to cover the entire research process, from the diagnosis of a disease and the knowledge of the pathophysiological basis through to the development of new drugs. It conducts research into neurological and mental health disorders; pediatric cancer and different pediatric diseases caused by environmental factors; and adaptive response in children. It also includes associated clinical groups and runs programs to support and promote innovation.
Kids Corona, understanding Covid-19 in children
Much has been said since the beginning of the pandemic about how the Coronavirus affects children and pregnant women. This is why the SJD has created the Kids Corona platform, a unique initiative undertaken to understand the impact of the virus on children.
Kids Corona provides open access to enable researchers, health professionals and citizens from all over the world to join forces and find answers to a range of different questions. These include: Do children contract Covid-19? Are they transmitters of the disease? How does confinement affect children? And how does Covid-19 affect pregnant women and newborns?
Thanks to the information received through online surveys and the efforts of the medical and scientific community, knowledge about coronavirus in the field of pediatrics and maternal-fetal medicine is growing rapidly.
Ensuring the well-being of patients and their families
Admission to a hospital is by no means a positive experience; much less so for children. Conscious of this reality, the SJD has renovated its facilities with the aim of offering a pleasant environment for children and reducing the anxiety they suffer from being hospitalized or receiving treatment.
The architecture and design of the hospital, the work of Llongueras Clotet Arquitectes, interior designer Rai Pinto, and graphic designer Dani Rubio Arauna, among others, pays careful attention to light, colors and materials, and includes special features such as huge interactive screens, fish tanks that act as windows, and sculptures in the shape of animals. The design aims to instill positive feelings and calm in children, their families, and, of course, the hospital staff. Last year the project was awarded one of the FAD 2020 design awards for being "a success story about how design and architecture can make our lives more agreeable".
The hospital's volunteers also play a key role in the wellbeing of patients. Their mission is to give the center a more human face. The 600 SJD volunteers do a magnificent job and complement the work of the doctors and nurses. They dedicate their time to patients and families, accompany them in the most difficult moments, take care of the children, and play with them when their parents need a break. The volunteers can also be found in operating rooms, emergency rooms, ICUs and the neonatal department.