New guidelines target safety in assisted living facilities

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Focusing on medication reconciliation, accurate resident identification methods and fall prevention programs would greatly enhance the safety of assisted living facility residents, according to new guidelines released by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.

The updated 2007 National Patient Safety Goals apply specifically to accredited assisted living facilities. They stress reconciling medications across the continuum of care, including giving the patient a complete list of current medications upon discharge; using at least two resident identifiers when providing care; and complying with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reduce healthcare-related infections.

JCAHO also requires facilities to implement a fall reduction program, which includes an evaluation of the effectiveness of the program, and asks that facilities take extra measures to reduce the risk of influenza and pneumococcal disease among residents.

The document is available at www.jointcommission.org