Patient safety standards coming for LTC in 2003

Joint Commission urging residents to speak up’

Healthcare Infection Prevention

Taking its national patient safety campaign to long-term care facilities, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations is adding new standards for 2003 and will urge all residents to "speak up" about medical errors. Under the new "speak up" campaign, residents in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities will be urged to become active, involved, and informed participants of the health care team. Accredited health care organizations will be receiving information about the campaign and samples of the campaign brochure and buttons. 

The brochures are being tailored to specific organizations, including long-term care and assisted-living facilities. The brochure has a blank panel, which will permit an organization to add information about its commitment to resident safety and its logo. The new standards — similar to those implemented for hospitals last year — go into effect Jan. 1, 2003. The standards require:

• Long-term care leadership to create an environment that encourages risk- and error identification.

• Active engagement by the organization in proactive systems analysis and improvement.

• Training throughout the organization that focuses on teamwork, avoidance of adverse events and error identification, analysis, and prevention.

• The use of available knowledge to guide safety improvement and reduce errors.

• The need to inform the resident, and when appropriate, his or her family, of unanticipated outcomes of care.

• Solicitation of input from the resident and his or her family on steps that could be taken to enhance safety and reduce errors.