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'The Business of Health Care Report'

Palliative Care and the Aging Population

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I’m Doug Hawthorne, CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

There has been a lot of talk recently about end-of-life care, both in the media and in the context of the national health care debate. It’s a topic that will become more and more prevalent as the baby boomers age, creating the largest population in history of people over 60.

In North Texas, the demand for compassionate end-of-life care has steadily increased in recent years. To help meet the demand, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth has opened the first inpatient unit in North Texas dedicated to palliative care.

Designed to bridge the gap between acute care and hospice care, palliative care focuses on treating patients who have been diagnosed with life-limiting or terminal illnesses, but may still be seeking treatment such as chemotherapy or dialysis. The goal is to attain the highest quality of life possible for the patient while striving to control or eradicate the disease process.

The 16-bed palliative care unit at Texas Health Fort Worth also provides emotional support for patients and their families as they make difficult decisions and cope with the stress and pain of disease. And for patients and family members who desire a spiritual perspective, our hospital chaplains are available around the clock.

At Texas Health, the guiding philosophy of our caregivers is, “Caring for the whole person — body, mind and spirit.”

For our faith-based family of hospitals — Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Harris Methodist and Texas Health Arlington Memorial — I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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