Voluntary accreditation improves nursing home culture of safety, study finds

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Nursing homes that are voluntarily accredited by The Joint Commission say they have a more robust culture of resident safety than non-accredited facilities, new study results disseminated by the group suggests.

Senior-level managers at over 4,000 nursing homes across the United States told researchers that accreditation by The Joint Commission has a beneficial impact on resident safety issues such as staffing, teamwork, training, nonpunitive responses to mistakes, and communication openness, according to the study. The Joint Commission is a nonprofit healthcare facility accrediting organization.

“It has been suggested that the process of sustaining the level of standards compliance required for accreditation can create a safety-oriented culture within a facility, and our results appear to support this contention,” Laura M. Wagner, Ph.D., R.N., an assistant professor at the New York University College of Nursing at the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing, says. “Although there are costs associated with accreditation, these findings suggest that the benefits of voluntary accreditation may ultimately outweigh the extra costs.”

The research was partly funded by a grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The study was published in the May issue of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety. Click here to read the full study.