The Joint Commission has announced it’s 2009 National Patient Safety Goals and related requirements for accredited home care organizations. The goals are intended to promote improvements in patient safety by providing solutions to persistent patient safety problems. Compliance with the requirements is required for continuing accreditation or certification for the 15,000 Joint Commission-accredited and certified organizations.

New requirements related to preventing deadly central line-associated bloodstream infections are at the top of the list of major changes for 2009. The new infection-related requirements have a one-year phase-in period to be completed by January 1, 2010.

The 2009 Home Care National Patient Safety Goals are:

•    Improve accuracy of patient identification
•    Improve the effectiveness of communication among caregivers
•    Improve safety of using medications
•    Reduce the risk of health care associated infections
•    Reduce the risk of patient harm resulting from falls
•    Encourage patients’ active involvement in their own care as a patient safety strategy

The safety goals also identify safety risks inherent in its patients’ population, including the risks associated with home oxygen therapy such as fires.

The full text of the 2009 National Patient Safety Goals and requirements for all accreditation programs can be found on The Joint Commission’s website.