University of West Florida
Joint Commission, National Patient Goals and Risk Reduction Strategies The Joint Commission is an organization that has set the bar for standards in health care. It was founded in 1951 and since then has evaluated and accredited more than 20,500 health care organizations and programs in the United States (“History of the,” 2014). The Joint Commission sets the standards and accreditations to provide the safest and effective care possible. Its vision is that all people will always experience the safest, highest quality, best value healthcare across all settings (“History of the,” 2014). They focus on many areas of healthcare, not just the hospital. One area that they focus on is home care. Each year the Joint Commission identifies safety goals that are based on the critical, current safety concerns. Two of the safety goals the Joint Commission focused on this year in home care are to improve the safety of using medications and to identify safety risks for patients who are getting oxygen (“Home care accreditation,” 2013).
Goal 1 The first safety goal that the Joint Commission recognizes under home care is to improve the safety of using medications. Human beings and the systems we create are fallible, and at present, we have little understanding of the supports and barriers to safe medication management in the home care environment for clients, family members, or healthcare providers (Marack et al, 210). In the hospital or office setting it can be easy to manage medication safety and control certain factors, however, once the patient returns home it can be very difficult to ensure the patient is safely using their medications. Unsafe use of medications in the home care setting can be caused by inappropriate use of medications, duplication of medications, and possibly errors in the use of cardiovascular, psychotropic, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Ahrens, Feldman, & Frey, 2002) The goal of improving the safety of medication use in the home care setting is a highly realistic goal. This is something that should be common sense. Any nurse that sees a patient and reviews their medication should theatrically be reconciling their medications and looking for errors. If the patient has an out-of-date medication list, the nurse should update it with correct medications and doses, and provide the patient with the new list. Teaching the patient about newly prescribed medications and ways medications interact is something that should be done at every available chance. Although this is a realistic goal that should easily be obtained, sometimes mistakes are made. Examples of these mistakes include: possible wrong medications being administered, over or under dosing due to different strength medications, improper storage of medication in the home, or even bad eating habits while taking the medication. As a nurse in the home care setting, proper medication reconciliation is necessary. This medication reconciliation will help to make certain that some, if not all, of these errors are caught and eliminated. Studies have shown that sixty three percent of the reported medication errors resulting in death or serious injury were due to breakdowns in communication, and approximately half of those would have been avoided through effective medication reconciliation (“Joint commission issues,” 2006). Certain medications need to be stored differently than other medications and some medications can be deactivated or reversed if certain foods are eaten. Educating and teaching the patient on these pitfalls can help to reduce errors with medications in the home care setting as well.
Goal 2 One of the other major goals that Joint Commission focuses on in home care is identifying safety risks with patients receiving oxygen. The goal was established in 2007 after reports that patients were injured or killed as a result of