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Closure.org Blog

New Palliative Care Certificate Program

Heaven forbid, if someone you loved was suffering from a stroke, you’d want them cared for somewhere where they would get the state-of-the-art care, right?
The Joint Commission (TJC) has certificate programs to recognize hospitals that meet or exceed the standards for stroke care; if your loved one is admitted to such a hospital, you get the reassurance of knowing they have TJC’s endorsement.
Now, what if your loved one was suffering from severe pain, anxiety, shortness of breath, or having a crisis of faith as a result of the treatment for one of the diseases above?  Wouldn’t you also want state-of-the-art-care for those problems?


Well, the Joint Commission has just approved a new (effective September 2011) hospital palliative care certificate program that will recognize hospitals for just that. 
Will it work?
That depends on what standards are set for the certificate.  If the standards focus exclusively on pain scores, number of patients receiving consultation, or hospital length of stay, it could become very easy to check boxes without ever addressing the real issues.   I’ve heard stories about home hospice where a hospice nurse arrives in the home; runs down a symptom checklist while typing busily on her laptop; sets out the day’s medication; and leaves without ever really learning how the patient is doing.
To really reach for the brass ring, certificate palliative care programs are going to need to strive for addressing all the complex issues of seriously ill patients—physical, emotional, spiritual and social.  There are guidelines for how to do this, developed by the National  Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care.  Hopefully, TJC will look at these standards and others like them when they decide what will qualify a hospital for their certificate.  If it works, the next step would be to do the same for hospices.
Source: Center to Advance Palliative Care

Written by on March 28th, 2011 at
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