July 22, 2005

Quality Check Improves Hospital Care

Read more... Schizophrenia Coping

Two studies in this month's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine indicate that quality-checkiing hospitals motivates them to improve their care.

Although these particular studies evaluated hospitals on how they routinely handled a few certain medical conditions (heart attack, congestive heart failure, and pneumonia treatment), the general conclusion that quality-checks can lead to improvements in care has implications for people searching for a good psychiatric hospital facility.

JCAHO (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) is a national hospital-accrediting body for the United States. According to information from "Surviving Schizophrenia" by Dr. E Fuller Torrey (see pp. 180-188):

A JCAHO team, upon invitation by the hospital, surveys patient care and services, therapeutic environment, safety of the patient, and quality of staff and administration. The hospital may receive full 3-year accreditation, full accreditation with a contingency (meaning that a follow-up inspection may be warranted), or no accreditation. Bear in mind that accreditation is given to hospital as a whole, NOT to individual wards. Ask for JCAHO accreditation at the hospital administration office, or look for a certificate by the entryway or in the lobby.

Looking for a JCAHO accreditation (you can check up on specific facilities at the JCAHO website is just one way to get information about the quality of a hospital facility. For more suggestions, see our FAQ section on hospitalization

Original source: "Performance reports motivate hospitals to improve, studies find." San Francisco Chronicle, July 21 2005.


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