Tuesday, September 13, 2011
by Holly Yang
On September 1st 2011, the Joint Commission started certifying hospital-based Palliative Care Programs! It is open to all Joint Commission accredited hospitals including long-term acute care care and children's hospitals. The standards for certification were based on the National Consensus Project's Clinical Practice Guidelines for Palliative Care and A National Framework and Preferred Practices for Palliative and Hospice Care Quality from the National Quality Forum. For previous comments on the importance of this see Christian's post from spring when it was announced.
It is "designed to recognize hospital inpatient programs that demonstrate exceptional patient and family-centered care in order to optimize the quality of life for patients with serious illness. Palliative care involves addressing physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs and facilitating patient autonomy, access to information and choice."
The full text is here, but some of the highlights of the requirements are (I'm paraphrasing, so please see the complete text for all the little words that make a big difference):
- 24/7 coverage - by phone on nights and weekends, with availability of someone to come in to see the patient if necessary, and "must be able to provide the same level of palliative care services during nights/weekends as during normal weekday hours."
- See patients - At least 10 in the past and at least one during the on-site review
- Use evidenced-based approach to guide care (and/or practice guidelines to deliver care using a standardized method)
- Have the ability to direct clinical management and coordinate care
- Have an IDT (interdisciplinary team) and follow an organized approach to deliver care
- QI - Improve performance by collecting performance measurement data over time (at least 4 months' worth). No specific tools, but should be "evidenced-based, relevant, valid and reliable"