As a result of COVID-19, on March 16th of this year, The Joint Commission (TJC) suspended all regular surveying of healthcare facilities. TJC does not currently have an anticipated date for when surveys will restart. While this reduces strain on healthcare facilities during a very stressful time, it may lead to unexpected consequences. To avoid these consequences, now is a good time to start self-assessing your facility to ensure that it remains compliant with TJC requirements. Self-assessing your facility on infection prevention control and other categories is always a good idea, but is especially important during the unfortunate situation we now find ourselves in.
Organizing and implementing self-assessments may feel like an added pressure, but as everyone in the healthcare industry knows: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
If facilities do not keep up the best standards of care throughout this pandemic, they will risk further spreading COVID-19 and harming patients and healthcare workers. By continuing to implement best practices with regards to TJC procedures and standards, facilities will help keep patients and employees as healthy as possible and not add to the problem.
Self-assessments can help keep best practices in place until TJC can resume normal surveys. This will preserve your facility’s high standards and protect from unwanted legal issues in the future. Additionally, it will help your facility to achieve the goal of every healthcare facility: making sure patients can get healthy and stay that way. If facilities can ensure that they stay compliant throughout this pandemic, then they can cut cost and reduce risk down the road for themselves and for patients.
Assessing your own facility can also help you to see any current shortcomings or inefficiencies in its systems or practices. Having each department run a simple self-assessment can not only help keep standards high, but can even make your standards higher by helping you see where you can update and improve how things are currently being handled.
What To Do
The first and best thing your facility can do is to self-assess compliance with TJC and CDC standards. The CDC even offers a very useful self-assessment tool. This tool helps you to review your facility’s infection control program and infrastructure, encourages direct observation of facility practices, and provides infection control guidelines and resources. By running this and other self-assessments, you can help ensure your facility’s continued compliance through this difficult season and also help ensure the safety and well-being of patients and healthcare workers alike.
In addition to a self-assessment, TJC encourages facilities to run drills and test current procedures to ensure the continued prevention of healthcare acquired infections (HAIs) during the COVID-19 outbreak. The CDC echoes those concerns by encouraging healthcare providers and healthcare facilities to review their core practices for infection prevention and control.
Implementing these simple strategies is a great way to stay one step ahead and make certain that your facility continues to provide patients and employees with a safe place to heal and be healed.