Nursing homes accredited by the Joint Commission report a stronger resident safety culture than non-accredited facilities, according to a new study published in the May 2012 issue of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.
Senior managers surveyed at more than 4,000 facilities across the U.S. reported accreditation has a positive influence on critical patient safety areas such as staffing, teamwork, training, nonpunitive responses to mistakes, and communication openness.
The study, "Impact of Voluntary Accreditation on Deficiency Citations in U.S. Nursing Homes", first published in the March 5 issue of The Gerontologist, shows accredited LTC facilities had fewer survey deficiency citations than non-accredited facilities.
The lead author of the study, Laura M. Wagner, PhD, RN, an assistant professor at the New York University College of Nursing at the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing, notes the research is "both timely and of great importance."
"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," says Wagner. "Although there are costs associated with accreditation, these findings suggest that the benefits of voluntary accreditation may ultimately outweigh the extra costs."
This is the second study by Wagner and her co-authors, Shawna M. McDonald, MSc., and Nicholas G. Castle, PhD, that demonstrates the benefits of Joint Commission accreditation for long-term care organizations and their residents.
A study by Wagner and her co-authors to be published April 25 in the journal Policy, Politics & Nursing Practice indicates accredited LTC organizations have improved resident outcomes over time.