Press Releases

The Joint Commission Releases Standards for Advanced Certification Program in Palliative Care

New York, NY (June 14, 2011) — The Joint Commission (TJC) accredited hospitals now have the option of seeking Advanced Certification in Palliative Care. The new certification program launches September 1, 2011.

This is an important step forward because certification:

  • Sends a strong signal of importance and legitimacy to hospital administration, payers, policymakers and organized medicine.
  • Spurs palliative care program leaders to adhere to quality guidelines.
  • Serves as a stepping-stone to the presence of a quality palliative care program in all U.S. hospitals.

Palliative care is specialized medical care focused on the pain, symptoms and stress of serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and their family. Palliative care can be provided alongside curative treatment, and it is appropriate at any age and any stage of a serious illness.

“Over 1500 leading U.S. hospitals today have a palliative care team, and The Joint Commission recognition of the importance of palliative care to overall quality of care represents a giant step forward for the field,” said Diane E. Meier, MD, director of the non-profit Center to Advance Palliative Care. “I know I am joined by colleagues across the country when I express my appreciation to The Joint Commission for helping to ensure that all palliative care teams deliver care of uniformly high quality.”

Standards to qualify for the Advanced Certification program are now available from TJC. To be eligible for Palliative Care Certification, a hospital must:

  • Have a formal, defined inpatient palliative care program.
  • Provide services following palliative care guidelines or evidence-based practice.
  • Use data actively for performance improvement.

The standards for palliative care certification are built on the National Consensus Project's Clinical Practice Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care and the National Quality Forum's National Framework and Preferred Practices for Palliative and Hospice Care Quality. They were developed under the guidance of The Joint Commission Health Care Services Task force, which is composed of experts in palliative care and key stakeholders.

About the Center to Advance Palliative Care

The Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) and the National Palliative Care Research Center are affiliated with Mount Sinai School of Medicine and are dedicated to increasing quality palliative care services for people facing serious illness.

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