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Fluids & Electrolytes
The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) has announced its 2005 National Patient Safety Goals (NPSGs). For hospitals, the new requirements stress improving the timeliness of critical test-result reporting to caregivers, reducing drug errors, and preventing falls. Effective January 1, 2005, JCAHO requires hospitals to:
* accurately and completely collect information about patients' current medications and share that knowledge with other caregivers who may need it. The patient should participate in this process.
* assess and periodically reassess each patient's risk of falling and address identified risks
* measure, assess, and, if appropriate, improve the timeliness of reporting critical test results and values to the responsible licensed caregiver
* create a list of look-alike/sound-alike drugs used in the facility and take action to avoid mix-ups. The list should be reviewed at least once a year.
Besides hospital care, the NPSGs specify safety goals and requirements for nine other health care categories, including disease-specific programs, ambulatory care, home care, long-term care, and labs. A new goal in the disease-specific category is to reduce the risk of influenza and pneumococcal disease in older adults. Requirements for reaching that goal include developing a protocol for administering and documenting the flu and pneumococcus vaccines and identifying new cases of disease.
For complete NPSGs in each category, visit the JCAHO Web site at http://www.jcaho.org.
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