Caring for the most cherished generation.They are our grandparents, neighbors, teachers, veterans, retired clergy and friends. They have enriched our lives in countless ways. Now we hope to enrich theirs.
Baylor is meeting the needs of our community’s elderly population in a life-changing way. In 1995, we were one of the first health care systems in the nation to establish a community-based chaplaincy program for seniors. Today, we are one of only a few health care system in North Texas that consistently reaches out through chaplains to meet the spiritual needs of older persons in the communities we serve. Our chaplains visit seniors in their homes, in Baylor outpatient health clinics, and in skilled nursing and retirement facilities that collaborate with Baylor around health issues. As a faith-based organization, this holistic care is part of our founding mission. As inheritors of the legacy of our most experienced and servant-minded generation, we feel it’s the least we can do.
Programs and services we provide include: spiritual support to isolated seniors, bereavement care, grief and support groups, seminars on spirituality and health, counseling for end of life issues, education on spirituality and aging for health professionals and support for caregivers.
Areas of Need
MINISTRY TO PATIENTS THROUGH SPECIALTY CLINICS
Our health care system is developing new ways to meet the needs of seniors in the community. Since 1995 our geriatrics chaplains have branded a unique ministry of excellent, highly skilled spiritual care to seniors through Baylor’s outpatient specialty clinics in downtown Dallas, Mesquite, Garland and Plano. In 2011, a geriatrics chaplain began visiting patients served by The Memory Center at Park Lane. This chaplain helps to meet the unique spiritual and emotional needs of patients and family members dealing with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. By going beyond hospital walls we improve the quality of life of our seniors and connect them to faith resources in the community.
HOME-BASED SPIRITUAL CARE THROUGH GERIATRICS CHAPLAINCY
Hospitals must continue to find ways to meet the exponential growth and health care needs of the senior population. Baylor has been innovative amidst the healthcare industry to create a system of transitional care whereby patients who have already been admitted for procedures have their health care managed in their homes by physicians, nurses and geriatrics chaplains. The Baylor Elder HouseCalls Program, created in 1998, provides in-home care from doctors, nurse practitioners and dedicated chaplains to serve older adults who are housebound and unable to access in-hospital health care. This program extends Baylor’s geriatric patient care mission beyond our outpatient senior health centers and into patients’ living rooms. Chaplains offer prayer, read scriptures and help seniors and their families deal with difficult transitions. Our chaplains provide counsel and comfort to people dealing with loss. With a multi-disciplinary approach focused on medical and spiritual needs, we help our patients maintain quality of life and avoid visits to the emergency room or hospital. Because of this, studies have shown that house calls can save health care costs. The role of the chaplain enhances the physician and care team’s ability to provide Baylor’s holistic model of care for our patients and families.
To increase our presence and ministry in the geriatric community, we must effectively train lay volunteers. Pastoral care volunteers are a vital addition to our professional chaplains’ ministry. Our volunteers assist our ministry by providing follow-up phone calls and visits after chaplains have met emergent needs for patients. This extends the long-term impact of our ministry on seniors’ lives.
Your contribution can help Baylor Health Care System Foundation fund programs to meet the spiritual, emotional and medical needs of the senior population. Please give online or call 214-820-3136 to discuss your gift today.
By 2030, nearly 20 percent of our country’s population will be over the age of 65.
One of our geriatrics chaplains serves with physicians, nurses and social workers in the Baylor Elder HouseCalls Program. Each year, this innovative program serves more than 1,100 elderly patients and seeks to reduce unnecessary visits to the emergency department. Less than 4 percent of patients enrolled in the program are hospitalized monthly.
In addition, our Baylor geriatrics chaplains and their volunteers have visited more than 18,000 patients in the last five years. That’s more than 3,600 patient visits each year.
Last year, these chaplains also provided spiritual care to the Baylor employees who care for geriatrics patients in 2,000 staff ministry visits.