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Are Organizations Ready for The Joint Commission’s New Standards for Perinatal Safety?

This article excerpts a HealthStream article, “The Joint Commission’s New Standards for Perinatal Safety: HealthStream Surveys Organizations About Their Readiness,” by Linda Zimmer, MSN, RN, Product Manager, Quality & Risk, HealthStream.

The United States has a serious problem with maternal healthcare and outcomes; currently we rank 55th among industrialized nations in terms of maternal mortality. To begin to implement the significant measures necessary to improve this poor ranking and decrease the frequency of maternal death and morbidity, The Joint Commission has introduced two new Perinatal Safety standards that will now take effect January 1, 2021. Having originally been scheduled for July 1, 2020, the standards implementation deadline was extended six months as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The standards specifically address measures that all healthcare organizations should take to address complications that occur with alarming frequency in pregnant and delivering women—maternal hemorrhage and severe hypertension/preeclampsia.

Specifics about the New Perinatal Safety Standards

The new standards will appear under the Provision of Care, Treatment and Services (PC) chapter at PC.06.01.01 and PC.06.01.03 in the Comprehensive Accreditation Manual for Hospitals. The standards address prevention, early recognition, and timely treatment of maternal hemorrhage and severe hypertension/preeclampsia. Some of the standards require Joint Commission-accredited hospitals to:

  • Develop written evidence-based procedures to identify and treat the conditions
  • Stock easily-accessed hemorrhage supply kits
  • Provide role-specific education to all staff and providers who treat pregnant/postpartum patients at least every two years
  • Conduct response procedure drills at least annually
  • Educate patients on signs and symptoms that warrant care during hospitalization and after discharge

To prepare hospitals to meet these new standards, The Joint Commission has issued a new R3 Report that provides guidelines for the 13 new elements of performance (EPs) that fall under the standards. The report provides the requirement, rationale and reference for each EP.

HealthStream Surveyed Healthcare Leaders about Organizational Preparedness for These New Perinatal Safety Standards

HealthStream surveyed nearly 150 leaders in nursing and healthcare education about the New Perinatal Care Standards, to gain insight about whether they were ready for Joint Commission surveyors who’d be looking for evidence of their implementation. We also wanted their honest opinion about whether they thought the standards would improve perinatal care and maternal healthcare outcomes.

Who Responded to the Survey?

HealthStream surveyed approximately 150 healthcare clinical and educational professionals about their organizations’ state of readiness to comply with these new standards. Of the respondents, more than 63% represented acute care hospitals, nearly 10% worked in corporate healthcare, more than 6% worked in outpatient surgery or a birthing center, and 21% worked in other healthcare roles. In terms of the leading respondent titles, more than 42% were nurse managers; more than 13% had a leadership role involving Quality, Risk Management, Compliance, Infection Control, or Safety; more than 12% were Directors of Nursing; and nearly 11% were Leaders of Learning or Education. Questions asked in the survey included:

  • Will the New Standards Improve Perinatal Care?
  • Will U.S. Healthcare Organizations Be Ready to Implement the Standards by Their Deadline?
  • What Required Measures Were Fully Implemented as of March 2020?

Download the full article to learn how healthcare organizations responded to the survey and to assess your own progress on meeting new maternal safety standards compared to other U.S. organizations.

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