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Published on May 23, 2012

Joint Commission Awards Advanced Certification in Palliative Care to Abington Memorial Hospital

ABINGTON, PA (May 23, 2012) — Abington Memorial Hospital has earned The Joint Commission Health Care Services Certification for its Palliative Care Program. The certification recognizes Abington’s dedication to continuous compliance with The Joint Commission’s state-of-the-art standards.

The hospital underwent a rigorous on-site survey to achieve certification. Joint Commission surveyors evaluated compliance with standards of care specific to the needs of patients and families, including pain and symptom management, patient satisfaction, utilization of services for patients in the intensive care unit and Palliative Care’s “No One Dies Alone” program.

“The Palliative Care Service is a vital component of the services our hospital provides in supporting patients and their families during some of life’s most difficult moments,” said John J. Kelly, M.D., chief of staff and chief patient safety officer, Abington Memorial Hospital. “Hard work, performed daily every year by the Palliative Care team, was the foundation for this achievement.”

Launched in September 2011, The Joint Commission’s Advanced Certification Program for Palliative Care recognizes hospital inpatient programs that demonstrate exceptional patient and family-centered care and optimize the quality of life for patients (both adult and pediatric) with serious illness. Palliative care addresses a patient’s, physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs and facilitates patient autonomy, access to information and choice.

The Advanced Certification Program for Palliative Care emphasizes:

  • A formal, organized palliative care program led by an interdisciplinary team whose members are experts in palliative care
  • Leadership endorsement and support of the program’s goals for providing care, treatment and services
  • A special focus on patient and family engagement
  • Processes which support the coordination of care and communication among all care settings and providers
  • The use of evidence-based national guidelines or expert consensus to guide patient care

Abington Memorial Hospital’s Palliative Care service is available to patients with advanced medical illness, especially chronic and progressive life-limiting conditions. This specialized team of physicians, nurses, social workers, pharmacists and a chaplain focuses on meeting people's medical, emotional and spiritual needs by:

  • ensuring that pain and other symptoms are managed
  • discussing patient wishes
  • establishing goals of care
  • planning for the future course of illness, including discussing choices patients are likely to face
  • discussing various treatment options and the effects
  • providing emotional and spiritual support to patients and families

"Our physicians and staff have increasingly relied on the Palliative Care team’s strong program to help them ease the burden during the difficult times and we can only expect this need to grow,” continued Kelly.

"In achieving Joint Commission certification, Abington Memorial Hospital has demonstrated its commitment to the highest level of care for its patients," says Jean Range, M.S., R.N., C.P.H.Q., executive director, Disease-Specific Care Certification, The Joint Commission. “Certification is a voluntary process and I commend Abington Memorial Hospital for successfully undertaking this challenge to elevate its standard of care and instill confidence in the community it serves.”

Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating healthcare organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more than 18,000 healthcare organizations and programs in the United States. The Joint Commission also provides certification of more than 1,700 disease-specific care programs, primary stroke centers, and healthcare staffing services. An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at

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