08/18/06   |   By

2007 National Patient Safety Goals for Assisted Living Facilities | DC Metro Area Medical Malpractice Law Blog

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The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, commonly known as JCAHO or the Joint Commission, has published its 2007 Assisted Living National Patient Safety Goals.  These patient safety goals apply to all accredited assisted living facilities.

“The 2007 National Patient Safety Goals continue to target critical areas where patient safety can be improved through specific actions in health care organizations,” says Dennis S. O’Leary, M.D., president, Joint Commission.  “Organizations that truly integrate these requirements into their daily operations will realize major opportunities to improve patient safety.”

The annual updating of the National Patient Safety Goals is overseen by an expert panel that includes patient safety experts, as well as nurses, physicians, pharmacists, risk managers and other professionals who have hands-on experience in addressing patient safety issues in assisted living and other health care settings.

The 2007 goals are:

Improve the accuracy of patient identification.

  • Use at least two resident identifiers when providing care, treatment or services.
  • Prior to the start of any surgical or invasive procedure, conduct a final verification process, such as a “time out,” to confirm the correct resident, procedure and site, using active—not passive—communication techniques.

Improve the effectiveness of communication among caregivers.

  • For verbal or telephone orders or for telephonic reporting of critical test results, verify the complete order or test result by having the person receiving the information record and  “read-back” the complete order or test result.
  • Standardize a list of abbreviations, acronyms, symbols, and dose designations that are not to be used throughout the organization.
  • Implement a standardized approach to “hand off” communications, including an opportunity to ask and respond to questions.

Reduce the risk of health care-associated infections.

  • Comply with current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hand hygiene guidelines.
  • Manage as sentinel events all identified cases of unanticipated death or major permanent loss of function associated with a health care-associated infection.

Accurately and completely reconcile medications across the continuum of care.

  • There is a process for comparing the resident’s current medications with those ordered for the resident while under the care of the organization.
  • A complete list of the resident’s medications is communicated to the next provider of service when a resident is referred or transferred to another setting, service, practitioner or level of care within or outside the organization.  The complete list of medications is also provided to the patient on discharge from the facility.

Reduce the risk of resident harm resulting from falls.

  • Implement a fall reduction program including an evaluation of the effectiveness of the program.

Reduce the risk of influenza and pneumoccal disease in institutionalized older adults.

  • Develop and implement a protocol for administration and documentation of the flu vaccine.
  • Develop and implement a protocol for administration and documentation of the pneumococcus vaccine.
  • Develop and implement a protocol to identify new cases of influenza and to manage an outbreak.

It you have a loved one in an assisted living facility which is accredited by JCAHO, you can talk with the administrator to find out how they are implementing this important patient safety goals.

Regan Zambri Long
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