This concentration and integration of specialized pediatric oncology reflects our mission: to provide a cure and optimal quality of life for every child with cancer. Close cooperation between care and research will lead to more children being cured of cancer, with fewer adverse effects later in life.
The Princess Máxima Center came into being as an independent organization caring for children with particular types of cancer in the autumn of 2014. These patients were treated on dedicated wards within the Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital (Wilhelminaziekenhuis, WKZ) in Utrecht. Researchers began working under the banner of the Princess Máxima Center in 2016. Construction of our purpose-built center opposite the WKZ started in that same year, and the first patients moved into the new building on May 18, 2018.
We have set the bar high. We want to cure as many children and adolescents with cancer as possible, as quickly as possible—and do this without compromising their quality of life, so that they will be able to achieve their full potential as members of society. We have translated these ambitions into the following mission: The Princess Máxima Center for pediatric oncology wants to provide a cure and optimal quality of life for every child with cancer.
Walk around inside the Princess Máxima Center and you’ll immediately feel what makes it special: there’s a huge sense of passion here, a drive to do the ultimate that is possible, and to achieve great things for children with cancer and their loved ones. Everyone who works here—from our medical specialists to our nurses, from our cooks to our volunteers—really wants to excel and work closely with sick children in order to help them. That spirit is expressed in our core values, which call on us to be:
Our core values sum up what the Princess Máxima Center stands for: we go further than others have gone before, and we do that with heart and soul.
The centralization of all highly complex care and research is essential for realizing this mission. With the launch of the Princess Máxima Center, that centralization has been achieved. But what’s even more important is the integration of care and research, because the only way clinicians and researchers will develop new insights and innovative, better treatments is by working closely together, at the patient’s bedside.
That’s the uniqueness and strength of the Princess Máxima Center: this integration of care and research. All our patients participate in research (providing they consent, of course) and all the results of that research are quickly made available to help future patients. That approach is essential to cure more children with cancer, reduce treatment side effects and improve long-term outcomes.
The Princess Máxima Center is also unique in its focus on patient- and family-centered care and support. We want to make sure that cancer interferes as little as possible with a child’s development and normal family life. We also want to involve families as much as possible in care decisions and empower them to make informed choices. Our building is specifically designed to meet the needs of children and their parents. For example, we offer rooms where parents can stay with their child around the clock and living rooms where parents can prepare their own meals. There’s a playground where children can build things, a music room, and much more. All this reflects our focus on development-oriented care.
Our medical, nursing and paramedic professionals work together continuously and proactively to stimulate each child’s development within the family, as much as possible. Our support staff and researchers are also well aware of this need, and plan their work accordingly. Other services, such as catering, are fully aligned with the needs and wishes of children and their families. Parents and children were closely involved in the development of our services and facilities, and told us what they wanted.