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Joint Commission Recognizes Texas Health Fort Worth for Excellence in Palliative Care
03/01/2013

FORT WORTH, Texas — Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth is the second hospital in Texas to receive The Joint Commission’s Advanced Certification for Palliative Care. The disease-specific certification is among three others earned by Texas Health Fort Worth – including hip replacement, knee replacement, and treatment of hip fractures.

The Advanced Certification for Palliative Care, launched by The Joint Commission in September 2011, recognizes hospital inpatient programs that demonstrate exceptional patient and family-centered care to enhance the quality of life for seriously ill patients. Certification involves an on-site evaluation, review of quality metrics and evidence of effective, timely palliative care using a multidisciplinary approach.

Palliative care is an often-misunderstood specialty that focuses on patients facing chronic or debilitating diseases and their families, said Ashley Hodo, nurse manager of the palliative care unit. It can include pain and symptom control, end-of-life care, coordination of treatment across disciplines, or long-term care planning for patients with serious illness. Some patients receiving palliative care have non-life-threatening conditions that can improve and allow them to lead normal lives. A care team comprised of chaplains, social workers, physicians, nurses, and others work with patients and their families on treatment and counseling through tough medical decisions.

“We’re proud to be among the 32 facilities nationwide recognized by The Joint Commission for paving the way in palliative care,” Hodo said. “This recognition reaffirms our care team’s dedication to providing quality care for our patients and their loved ones.”

Texas Health Fort Worth opened North Texas’ first dedicated 16-bed inpatient palliative care unit in 2009 to meet the needs of the growing elderly population. In 2011, palliative care for infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) that need extra-special care was developed. Fifteen to 20 percent of NICU patients need more advanced care planning through the Neonatal weeCare Palliative Care program, said Lindsey Canon, manager of the NICU. This includes babies born with chromosomal anomalies, babies that have been on a ventilator for more than two months, and babies with complex conditions, such as spina bifida.

“Our weeCare team starts working with pregnant moms early on in the process and follows them through the continuum of care to offer support, help coordinate with specialists and attend appointments,” Canon said. “Forming relationships with the patients and family members is one of the most important aspects of palliative care.”

To learn more about palliative care at Texas Health Fort Worth, visit www.TexasHealth.org/FortWorth.

About Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth is 726-bed, Magnet-designated regional referral center that has served the residents of Tarrant County since 1930. The hospital’s services include cardiovascular services, high-risk and routine obstetrics and gynecology, orthopedics and sports medicine, neonatal intensive care, and trauma/emergency medicine. Texas Health Fort Worth is also home to the 100-bed Texas Health Harris Methodist Heart Center. An affiliate of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system, Texas Health Fort Worth has more than 4,000 employees, 200 volunteers and nearly 1,000 physicians practicing on the medical staff. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit www.TexasHealth.org.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health systems in the United States. The health system includes 25 acute care and short-stay hospitals that are owned, operated, joint-ventured or affiliated with Texas Health Resources. It includes the Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Arlington Memorial and Texas Health Harris Methodist hospitals, Huguley Memorial Medical Center, Texas Health Physicians Group, outpatient facilities, behavioral health and home health, preventive and fitness services, and an organization for medical research and education. For more information about Texas Health Resources, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit www.texashealth.org.

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