STARS (Special Needs Tracking and Awareness Response System)


Advances in pediatric medicine have resulted in the increased survival of children with complex medical conditions. Premature babies are surviving in greater numbers and living longer, frequently into adulthood. These children typically have multiple medical conditions, complex medication schedules and utilize an array of medical equipment such as home ventilators.

Children with special health care needs represent the most rapidly growing subset of pediatric patients, constituting more than 17% of children in Missouri and 14% of children in Illinois. These children are most at risk for adverse events, medical errors and poor outcomes during emergencies. That’s where the STARS program comes in.

SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital created the Special Needs Tracking and Awareness Response System (STARS) to provide focused, individualized training to area hospitals and first responders in more than 30 counties, to help them better care for children living in their districts who have challenging medical needs, such as heart defects, autism, severe neurological disorders and more.

The ultimate goal of STARS is to have pertinent, up-to-date information about each STARS child in the hands of first responders before they arrive at the child’s home and for community hospitals to be equipped with the knowledge to safely care for these special children. This ultimately helps decrease anxiety (for caregivers as well as the children) and potentially prevents unnecessary hospitalizations, reducing overall health care costs.

How Your Support Will Help

By supporting the STARS program, you are making a difference in the lives of these special children in the following ways:

Staff Resources. The tremendous need for the services of STARS has produced demand that far exceeds what our current staff can handle. Additional staff will enable STARS to expand to more counties, especially those with the highest percentage of children with special needs.

Technology Upgrades. The STARS team is currently developing a centralized, one-of-a-kind database that can securely store data about each STARS child and can be accessed from anywhere in the country.

S.T.A.R.S. EMTs with Cardinal Glennon STARS patient