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Is being Joint Commission compliant enough to be able to prepare, respond and recover from a disaster? Explain your answer.
No, being Joint Commission compliant is not enough to be able to prepare, respond and recover from a disaster. Accreditation standards focus on providing safe, quality patient care and treatment services, and also address emergency management by providing tools to help a hospital organize and plan to respond to the effects of potential emergencies and require evidence of planning for emergencies, resources, and training to carry out the emergency plan. Emergency management is not, however, the primary focus or purpose of the standards. The six joint commission elements do not even address recovery, only preparedness and response capabilities.
Review the JC Lessons Learned. What lesson learned resonated with you? Why?
Last week I focused on the security and staff responsibilities elements of the JC accreditation so I was interested in the lessons learned related to staff this week. Prioritizing time and resources in order to train the staff is critical, without training – including exercises and drill – plans cannot be carried out efficiently. Staff often works long and mentally draining shifts during emergencies, therefore, it is important to plan for appropriate rotations and relief. Getting to the hospital during or after an emergency can potentially be challenging for a number of reasons – tending to family, roadblocks, etc. – therefore including plans to get staff to and work is critical. Providence, a local private hospital in Portland, OR. has a system that they implement during winter storms here where the staff gets picked up by approved volunteers with weather-ready vehicles who are comfortable driving in ice and snow conditions.
Weden, L. (n.d.). Why Do Hospitals Get Accredited by The Joint Commission? Retrieved from https://www.intermedix.com/blog/why-do-hospitals-g…
The joint Commission is the best and most credible organization that accredits healthcare facilities and other EM organizations on how comprehensive their emergency management programs are to take care of all three phases of disaster response; preparation, response, and recovery. The organization recommends preparation on six critical aspects of emergency response, supplemented by four protocols on the planning process, emergency operations plans, and emergency management drills.
When healthcare and other emergency response organizations review their capabilities in these areas, they are said to adopt an all-hazards approach as recommended by the DHS on disaster response. Compliance with the recommendations of JC procedures, protocols and allocation of responsibilities makes organizations to be adequately prepared for emergencies, respond to them, and recover from them quickly. This is so because its operations manual includes all the key elements of an effective emergency response planning (Ragusa, et al., 2016).
The first key element in JC standards is emphasis on open, continuous, and honest flow of information to the public before, during, and after a disaster. Lessons from previous disasters have highlighted the damage that censoring information can have on evacuation efforts, communication of change of plans, and family reunifications after disasters. Efficient flow of information ensures all personnel involved in emergencies management are working in sync such as hospitals, the police, fire department and first responders.
Another JC critical standard is continuous staff training and role playing. The organization encourages the ongoing staging of anticipated emergency scenarios and role playing. This protocol requires the participation of all stakeholders involved in emergency response including hospitals, local ambulance services, law enforcement, and the local community. Another areas that makes JC compliance amount to adequate disaster preparedness is resources and assets inventorying. The standard procedure requires EM organizations take stock of available resources and gaps. Prior resources and assets planning ensure individual organizations are self-reliant instead of counting on outside help which might not be forthcoming (Shaw et al., 2012).
Strength of the joint commission’s EM standards is the emphasis on fail-safe and backup plans to make critical utilities and software systems available during disasters. So, yes it can be argued that compliance with the JC emergency management protocols is enough to prepare for, respond to, and move on when disasters strike.
Shaw, T. J., Pernar, L. I., Peyre, S. E., Helfrick, J. F., Vogelgesang, K. R., Graydon-Baker, E., … & Gandhi, T. (2012). Impact of online education on intern behaviour around joint commission national patient safety goals: a randomised trial. BMJ Qual Saf, 21(10), 819-825.
Ragusa, P. S., Bitterman, A., Auerbach, B., & Healy III, W. A. (2016). Effectiveness of surgical safety checklists in improving patient safety. Orthopedics.
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