Certification Available for Palliative Care Programs

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Karen Utterback By Karen Utterback 
Former Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy, Change Healthcare (Retired)
Palliative Care Services

In another sign that palliative care finally is getting the recognition it deserves, the Joint Commission has announced a certification option for home care organizations with community-based palliative care programs.

The specialty certification will be effective July 1, 2016, but you can learn about the prepublication standards by visiting the organization’s website. The review of specific requirements for the Community-Based Palliative Care (CBPC) Certification will take place either during the home care accreditation survey or a CBPC extension survey. A CBPC certification is good for three years.

For many patients, palliative care can be a more appropriate option than hospice. It’s not about giving up hope – it’s about pain relief and quality of life for those facing serious, complex illnesses. However, the acceptance of palliative care closely mirrors what occurred when hospice first came on the scene.

There was a lot of early confusion about hospice and how it could help patients and their families, but now it enjoys fairly widespread acceptance. I believe the uptake for palliative care is occurring even more quickly. As Baby Boomers continue to grow older, they are facing more serious, often complex conditions that fit between home health and hospice services. Home-based palliative care is much cheaper than a hospital stay, and care is delivered where the patient would much rather be.

The Center to Advance Palliative Care, a national organization dedicated to increasing the availability of quality palliative care services, estimates that six million Americans currently could benefit from palliative care.

Against the backdrop of the population of the United States, that’s a small percentage. But your clinicians and aides are already delivering similar services in patient homes every day. If your organization is not currently offering palliative care services, it might be worth exploring.

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