Home Care Accreditation: Why You Should Insist Upon It

What comes to mind when you see an official gold seal? Perhaps it’s authenticity; verified quality; an earned award or honor. It’s certainly something you’d want associated with the company you’re trusting to provide home care for an aging parent or spouse.

Many people aren’t familiar with The Joint Commission and their home care accreditation process. Yet understanding this accreditation’s importance can mean the difference between selecting a high quality, trusted care provider for someone you love, or a home care provider with a lower standard of care. Here’s what you need to know.

Who is The Joint Commission?

Since 1951, The Joint Commission has been driving quality improvement and safety in health care. If you’ve been to any hospital that receives government funding, you’ve experienced a Joint Commission accredited facility. Their vision is “that all people always experience the safest, highest quality, best-value health care across all settings.”

What exactly do they do?

The Joint Commission works closely with health care and home care organizations to set quantifiable, data-driven goals, and then helps them achieve those goals. For example, if a home care agency sets a goal for 50% of their staff to complete specialized dementia care training, The Joint Commission will verify this standard has been met – and then work with the agency to set an even higher goal. It’s about continuous, documented improvement that leads to better care.

As a part of this process, The Joint Commission performs audits that last for several days. They review client files, caregiver files, and other records to ensure the agency’s compliance to quality standards. The Joint Commission standards go above and beyond state regulatory standards. For instance, their stance on handwashing to control infection is not just to document that caregivers need to wash their hands during each shift, but that the agency is checking to confirm this practice is being followed.

Why does home care accreditation matter?

An accredited home care agency is constantly striving through measurable standards to improve quality, enhance safety, and make sure the care being delivered is the very best it can be. The gold seal of approval from The Joint Commission has to be earned. It demonstrates an agency’s philosophical and financial commitment to not just meeting but exceeding client needs, while instilling ongoing sound management practices.

Most importantly, it gives seniors and their family members peace of mind. Bringing a caregiver into the home is a personal, intimate service, and that comes with an inherent degree of risk. The Joint Commission’s seal of approval means a trusted, objective third party is mitigating those risks.

Joint Commission

If accreditation is so important, why aren’t all home care agencies accredited?

Achieving accreditation requires a major commitment of time, cost, and dedication to continuous improvement. It means placing value in the seniors being served, first and foremost. For instance, The Joint Commission mandates that a home care agency hire a full-time registered nurse – something the State of Florida does not require of non-medical home care agencies. There is also an initial investment of $10,000, as well as an annual fee, a survey fee, and a significant commitment of time to go through the auditing and recertification process.

A home care agency that invests in its clients and caregivers by becoming accredited through The Joint Commission demonstrates its dedication to ongoing quality and consistency. While a home care agency may choose to cut corners by simply being licensed by the State of Florida or the Agency of Health Care Administration, the standards for The Joint Commission are far more rigorous than the minimal requirements of these other entities.

The bottom line is there’s simply no substitute for the superior level of care an individual will receive when cared for by an accredited home care provider. It’s important for all consumers to do their homework when evaluating home care agencies – beginning with the question, “Are you accredited by The Joint Commission?”

At Right at Home, the leading provider of home and companion care in Sarasota, FL and surrounding areas, we’re pleased to go the extra mile for the seniors we serve by being accredited by The Joint Commission. It’s just one way we ensure our clients receive the elevated level of care they deserve. Contact us any time at (941) 929-1966 to learn more.

Michael Juceam
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