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Excellent care

The Princess Máxima Center for pediatric oncology wants to provide the best possible care to children with cancer and to their families. 

We want to cure as many children with cancer as possible and as quickly as possible, while maintaining their quality of life so that they can find their place in society easily possible. We have translated these ambitions into the following mission:

The Princess Máxima Center for pediatric oncology wants to cure every child with cancer, and to provide them optimum quality of life.

Less complex care be given in a number of hospitals throughout the Netherlands under the direction of the Princess Máxima Center (the so-called shared care hospitals). Children from across the country who have, or may have, an oncological condition will be referred to our Center, where pediatric oncology specialists can provide a diagnosis, determine a treatment plan, and implement the treatment. To make the stay as comfortable as possible for all concerned, the Center has excellent child-and family-friendly accommodations.

Guiding principles

The Princess Máxima Center believes that childhood cancer patients and their parents deserve absolute top-quality care. The term 'top-quality care' is understood to mean:   

  • Every child with cancer deserves the best treatment, care, and support from the best experts, for treatment and supportive care alike;
  • Doctors, therapists, counselors and patients organizations will align their overall concept to best suit the needs of the children and their families;
  • The best diagnostic knowledge and treatment expertise will be combined in multidisciplinary teams to implement optimal treatment protocols and to share knowledge about potential complications;
  • Concentrating expertise, care, and research in one national center will enable compliance with "quality requirements" and "volume standards" for complex treatments to help the various categories of patients;
  • All employees will be fully committed;
  • Here will be ongoing evaluation of new treatment options and results;
  • Children with cancer will receive optimum support for their psychological, cognitive, and social development;
  • The building design will feature an infrastructure that stimulates the growth of children;
  • Continuing care even after the cancer has been cured;
  • Improving the care for children who cannot get better (palliative care) and providing ongoing support for their families by continuing to provide care after the death of their child.

Patient-friendly care process

The best care is about more than providing the best treatment, it is also about a patient-friendly care process. The Princess Máxima Center, together with the patients' association VOKK and representatives of professional groups for pediatric oncology, have developed an optimum care process that is based on the needs of children and their parents. This care process is based on the following guiding principles:

  • The care is development oriented: the child and family are the main priority and the physical, cognitive, emotional, spiritual, and social functioning of the children and their parents is taken under consideration.
  • The care process is actually organized around the child and not around the caregivers, the (diagnostics) department, or the logistics process. At the Princess Máxima Center, doctors and nurses, as well as pedagogical staff and psychologists, work closely with each other and with parents and children.
  • The whole treatment for a child will be provided in this ward (clinic, day treatment, outpatient clinic) with one central check-in area.
  • The care process is focused primarily on quality, efficiency, and hospitality for the children and their families, and, secondarily, on the organization and its employees.
  • Parents are actively involved with the child's treatment team through optimal information sharing and exchanging knowledge about the treatment.
  • Sustainability (and thus safety and efficiency) is an important guiding principle for the care and treatment processes.

Specialized care units

At the Princess Máxima Center for pediatric oncology, care is divided into three specialized units. Each unit is organized around the type of cancer.

  • HO Unit: hemato-oncology (leukemia and lymphoma, among others)
  • ST Unit: solid tumors (including kidney, liver, and bone and muscle tumors)
  • NO Unit: neuro-oncology (brain tumors, among others)

Each unit includes three care components: the clinic, the day treatment program, and the outpatient clinic. Moreover, these three components share a central check-in area. Not only is this approach very patient friendly — children and their parents always report to the same check-in area  it is also highly effective in terms of managing appointments and for communication between the clinic, the day treatment program, and the outpatient clinic. Therefore, children and their parents can deal with the same unit throughout the course of treatment. This eliminates the traditional separation between the clinic, the day treatment program and the outpatient clinic. There is no longer one large outpatient clinic and one large day treatment program for all children; instead there are three specialist units that bundle the required expertise. The guiding principle is that the entire treatment of a child is to take place on one ward. This allows children who must undergo surgery or radiation to stay on their own unit (clinical or outpatient). The psychosocial care is also offered on the same unit.

Positive outcomes

Concentrating the pediatric oncology care at the Princess Máxima Center achieves the following positive outcomes: 

  • Increased treatment effectiveness through a demonstrable relationship between the number of treatments (chemotherapy and/or surgery) and the treatment outcome;
  • Improvements in the supportive care provided by dedicated teams;
  • Better acceptance and processing by patients and their families of the illness and treatment, thanks to highly qualified psycho-social counselors;
  • Development of specific treatment protocols, sometimes in tiny biological subgroups;
  • The centralized development of specific treatment protocols;
  • Cost-effective diagnosis and treatment: the concentration of facilities, complex and multidisciplinary medical-technical treatments, psychosocial support, and nursing care;
  • Lower costs and better data management;
  • Access to new treatments and therapeutic techniques (research into new treatments and medicines);
  • Special attention provided for the care of adolescents.

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