Community Hospital one of first California hospitals awarded advanced certification for palliative care
Recognized for excellence in improving quality of life for seriously ill
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Contact: Monica Sciuto (831) 622-2756
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MONTEREY, Calif. — Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula’s palliative care program, which provides an extra layer of care and support for seriously ill patients and their families, has achieved advanced certification from the nation’s leading healthcare accreditation organization.
The Joint Commission awarded its gold seal to Community Hospital’s Palliative Medicine Service after a rigorous onsite review in October. It is one of four inpatient programs in California and one of 77 nationally recognized for demonstrating exceptional patient and family-centered care, aimed at improving the quality of life for patients with serious illness.
“The accreditation standards are high, and I’m proud to say that our program met or exceeded every expectation,” says Terril Lowe, RN, Community Hospital’s vice president of nursing.
Palliative care is a medical specialty directed at people with life-limiting chronic disease and focuses on reducing the symptoms, pain, stress, and side effects related to the illness, so patients can live more comfortably. It is not the same as hospice care, which is for people who are terminally ill and no longer receiving curative treatment; people can receive palliative care at the same time they receive treatment meant to cure an illness. The types of illnesses treated are broad, but can include emphysema, congestive heart failure, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.
“If palliative care starts at an early stage, a thoughtful conversation can occur with the patient about what matters most and is important to them,” says Christine Short, RN, director of Nursing Support Services and the Palliative Medicine Service at Community Hospital. “Our priority is to respect patients’ wishes and interests and to make sure they understand their situation well enough to make informed decisions.”
The Palliative Medicine Service is made up of a multidisciplinary team including a medical director, nurse practitioner, registered nurse, pharmacist, social worker, and chaplains. Discharge planners, physical therapists, clinical dietitians, and others are involved as needed.
“This is a free-standing team created to address all issues related to acute or chronic disease, except for the disease itself,” says Dr. John Hausdorff, medical director. “People are complicated; their needs are complicated, and the goal is to improve the life for patients and their families.”
The Joint Commission, which reviews quality and performance standards for more than 20,500 health organizations nationwide, launched its Advanced Certification for Palliative Care program in 2011.
"In achieving Joint Commission advanced certification, Community Hospital has demonstrated its commitment to the highest level of care for patients with serious illness,” says Joint Commission’s Michele Sacco, MS, executive director, Advanced Certification for Palliative Care. “Certification is a voluntary process, and I commend Community Hospital for successfully undertaking this challenge to elevate its standard of care and instill confidence in the community it serves.”
To learn more about Community Hospital’s Palliative Medicine Service, visit www.chomp.org/palliative or call (831) 625-4977.
ABOUT COMMUNITY HOSPITAL
Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, established in 1934, has grown and evolved in direct response to the changing healthcare needs of the people it serves. It is a nonprofit healthcare provider with 220 staffed acute-care hospital beds and 28 skilled-nursing beds, delivering a continuum of care from birth to end of life, and every stage in between. It serves the Monterey Peninsula and surrounding communities through locations including the main hospital, outpatient facilities, satellite laboratories, a mental health clinic, and a short-term skilled nursing facility, Hospice of the Central Coast, Montage Wellness Center, and business offices. Find more information about Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula at http://www.chomp.org/