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In March 2008, the Joint Commission released for comment proposed standards for palliative care and called for feedback from those who provide palliative care services, including stakeholders at healthcare organizations and national palliative care experts. The standards will be part of a new Health Care Services Certification Program developed by the Joint Commission to provide standards and improvement solutions to healthcare organizations.


The Joint Commission's Health Care Services Certification Program incorporates the underlying concepts of clinical microsystems, which emphasize the importance of patient-centered care and teamwork. The certification standards evaluate how well an organization integrates microsystems thinking, a patient-centered care focus, and service-specific concepts into their routine approach and delivery of services. The Joint Commission's establishment of the standards and review process has been guided by the Health Care Services Task Force, composed of experts in implementing microsystems concepts and patient-centered care, palliative care, physical rehabilitation, clinical engineering, wound care, and other services. Health Care Services Certification program standards are also available on the Joint Commission's Web site.


The standards cover important aspects related to program management, providing care, managing patient information, and improving performance. Palliative care services seeking Joint Commission certification also will be expected to use evidence-based national guidelines or expert consensus to guide their services. The palliative care standards will be part of the Joint Commission's Health Care Services Certification Program. Scheduled to launch in August 2008, this new evaluation program is designed for healthcare services provided to patients in various healthcare settings. In addition to palliative care, the new certification will be available for healthcare programs that manage direct patient care services, such as geri-psychiatric care, physical rehabilitation, subacute care, ventilator care, women's health care, and wound care.


For more information about the Health Care Services Certification program, please call (630) 792-5291 or email [email protected].