The Joint Commission has replaced its accreditation program for long-term-care facilities with a revamped version
that includes new standards for patient-centered care and a certification option for specialty services.
The Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.-based accreditation organization was prompted to make the changes based on feedback from accredited facilities as well as from those that were planning on seeking accreditation in the future, said Gina Zimmermann, the Joint Commission's executive director of nursing and rehabilitation center accreditation, in an interview.
“What we realized is that nursing homes have really changed a lot on recent years,” Zimmermann said. “They are beginning to specialize, both in their services and in the types of patients they serve. We wanted to identify a way to distinguish those specialty services.”
The result is an optional certification program, completed as an add-on to basic accreditation, which will recognize nursing homes' strengths in specific areas. The first certification option, announced Monday along with the newly revised accreditation standards, recognizes facilities that provide advanced rehabilitation services.
The Joint Commission is planning to add other specialty certification options in the future, including one for memory care, Zimmermann said.
In addition to the certification option, the group made a number of changes to the basic long-term accreditation process. Specifically, Zimmermann, said, the Joint Commission tried to streamline the process, eliminating unnecessary documentation and omitting duplicative steps. The group also added several new standards focused on providing patient-centered care, such as including patients and families in shared decision-making.