JCAHO Sets Home Care Safety Goals

Vol. 17 •Issue 16 • Page 20
JCAHO Sets Home Care Safety Goals

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations last week announced home care patient safety goals for 2005.

“The 2005 National Patient Safety Goals extend our expectations of accredited home care organizations in providing safe, high quality care,” said Dennis S. O’Leary, MD, president of JCAHO. “We know that focusing on these specific areas of performance will reduce the frequency of unanticipated serious events in the home setting.”

The National Patient Safety Goals set forth succinct, evidence-based requirements that address critical aspects of care for home care clients. The goals are reviewed and revised annually by the Sentinel Event Advisory Group. This panel comprises physicians, nurses, pharmacists,and patient safety experts.

The goals are largely based on information from JCAHO’s Sentinel Event Database.

The 2005 Home Care National Patient Safety Goals include the following:

• Improve the accuracy of patient identification. Use at least two patient identifiers whenever administering medications or blood products. Conduct a final verification process to confirm the correct patient, procedure, site, and availability of appropriate documents.

• Improve the effectiveness of communication among caregivers. For verbal or telephone orders or for telephone reports of critical test results, verify the complete order or test result by having the person receiving the order or test result read-back the complete order. Standardize a list of abbreviations, acronyms and symbols that are not to be used throughout the organization. Measure, assess and take action to improve the timeliness of reporting.

• Improve the safety of using medications. Remove concentrated electrolytes from patient care areas. Standardize and limit the number of drug concentrations used by the organization. Identify look-alike/sound-alike drugs and take action to prevent errors.

• Improve the safety of using infusion pumps. Ensure free-flow protection on all general-use and patient controlled analgesia intravenous infusion pumps.

• Reduce the risk of health care-associated infections. Manage as sentinel events all identified cases of unanticipated death or major loss of function associated with health-care associated infection.

• Accurately and completely reconcile medications across the continuum of care. Develop a process for obtaining and documenting a complete list of the patient’s current medications. Communicate the patient’s medications to the next provider of service.

• Reduce the risk of patient harm resulting from falls.