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The Joint Commission   

Since January 2005, The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations required hospitals and other health care organizations to document each patient's language and communication needs in the patient's medical record, along with other key patient information. The Joint Commission said it hopes the revised information management standard (IM.6.20) will allow the patient's language and communication needs "to be easily shared across the continuum of care," noting research shows language and cultural differences can affect the quality and safety of care.

This focus on patient safety and dignity is reinforced in The Joint Commission's Standard of Care RI.2.100, stating, "The organization respects the patient's right to and need for communication." Elements of Performance for RI.2.100, No.4 stating, "The organization addresses the needs of those with vision, speech, hearing, language, and cognitive impairments."

Just this year, the JCAHO has posted major additions to this fourth annual issuance of 2008 National Patient Safety Goals, which were approved by the Joint Commission's Board of Commissioners. They include a new Requirement that "hand-offs" of patients between caregivers be standardized, with particular attention to assuring the opportunity for asking and responding to questions. This Requirement is part of the Goal #2: "Improve the effectiveness of communication among caregivers." In addition, a new Goal encourages the active involvement of patients and their families in the patient's care as a patient safety strategy, and includes a specific Requirement that the disease-specific care program define and communicate the means for patients and their families to report concerns about safety and encourage them to do so.

Help your institution meet The Joint Commission's Standard of Care RI.2.100 and the new 2008 The Joint Commission's National Patient Safety Goals by establishing effective patient communication with the EZ Board by Vidatak.