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PT on the Run

The Joint Commission is Coming!

Published May 21, 2014 5:24 PM by Michael Kelley

Well, it's that time again. Our hospital system is up for reaccreditation from the Joint Commission. This will be the fourth accreditation I have gone through now (we've had two for when we became a certified stroke center and one general accreditation prior).

As usual, everyone is on edge and hospital administrators and management are constantly reminding staff to pretty much do their jobs the way we always have. In the past we've never been marked down for anything major; in fact, we've been recognized on a number of occasions for having "best practice" models already in place.

This time around, our hospital system has decided to set up some "dry runs" to help ease everyone into when the actual surveyors might come. Essentially, managers from every department are assigned a different department that they have to "survey."

For PT, this means someone from nursing or the lab might follow a therapist around for an hour or so and observe that person treating patients or maybe just ask him questions. I can't decide if it's a good thing that we're practicing so we can be all prepared when the actual surveyors arrive, or if it's just a colossal waste of time.

I had a manager from the nursing department sit down with me for 10 minutes and run through her list of questions. Pretty much I told her, "Yes, I wash my hands before and after every patient." And, "Yes, I ask the patients to verify their name and birthday." And, "Of course, I wear my name badge every day." It all seemed a little trivial to me.

What do your clinics do to prepare for the Joint Commission surveyors? Do you practice what they might ask you? Do you just wing it?

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Great points!  And I completely agree with that first statement!  I still tell students, "If you see a suit, walk the other way!"  But again it's a good point that they aren't there to tell us all of the things we do wrong, but rather open our eyes to what we can do better.  

Michael Kelley May 22, 2014 9:08 PM

The advice I had when I first graduated regarding the commission was "Walk the other way when you see them coming."

Now I think I would invite them to dinner with me.  Dry runs can be a waste for those who have been through the routine many times but there are providers who have never been questioned by an "authority" person before and may be intimidated.  

The last person who followed me around from a state agency did not see me use the microbial hand wash gel after I left a room.  Of course she did not see me because she was still in the room talking to the patient.   The agency didn't seem to care about where the lady was who followed me, only that she did not see me use it.  

The commissions and state agencies are there not to point out faults but to make providers even better then what they are or could be.  Facilities should welcome them with open arms and encourage them to look around.  

Jason Marketti May 21, 2014 9:21 PM

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