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Bon Secours’ Palliative Care Among Leading Programs Nationally

Three Richmond-area hospitals meet Joint Commission’s highest standards for quality

Feb. 13, 2014 – Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital, Memorial Regional Medical Center and St. Francis Medical Center recently earned The Joint Commission’s Advanced Certification for Palliative Care, which recognizes hospitals for meeting standards and providing high quality palliative care. The three Bon Secours Richmond-area hospitals were the first of the health system’s hospitals to undergo the certification process, joining only about 60 hospitals nationally with this type of certification.

“This is a proud distinction for our palliative medicine staff and our hospitals,” said Peter J. Bernard, chief executive officer, Bon Secours Virginia Health System. “The Joint Commission certification is the gold seal of approval and a testament to a culture of excellence that contributes to our overall care for patients.”

Each of the Bon Secours hospitals received high marks during the evaluation and no findings were cited that required response or improvement. The Joint Commission highlighted a number of Bon Secours’ palliative care initiatives as best practices for other palliative care programs across the country, including highly trained palliative-specific nurse navigators, the organization of pastoral care and support of palliative care competencies for chaplains. They also pointed out Bon Secours’ unique vision of a palliative medicine program “without walls,” which cares for patients based on their need and not their location, whether in a hospital, clinic or home setting.

“Achieving the Advanced Certification for Palliative Care recognizes our approach to holistically addressing our patients’ needs and underscores the compassion we have for those afflicted with serious illness,” said Leanne M. Yanni, M.D., medical director, palliative medicine, Bon Secours Virginia Health System. “I want to recognize and thank all of those in our health system who have contributed to this success.”

Palliative care focuses on improving the quality of life for patients and their families as they overcome the difficulties associated with serious illness, including those undergoing treatment for curable illnesses and those living with chronic diseases. A multidisciplinary team, in coordination with a patient’s primary team of physicians, provides palliative care as an extra layer of support to help relieve pain and suffering. Palliative care helps patients and families highlight what’s most important to them, which helps them make important medical decisions. Several studies have shown that a patient’s life can be prolonged when they receive palliative care alongside their medical treatment.

There are about 1,500 hospitals nationwide that offer a palliative care team and less than four percent are awarded with The Joint Commission’s Advanced Certification for Palliative Care.

“Bon Secours joins the leading palliative care teams in the United States as it achieves The Joint Commission’s Advanced Certification for Palliative Care, validating the quality and depth of their care for people living with serious illness. These leading teams point the way to the health system of the future - one that puts first what matters most to patients and families,” said Diane E. Meier, M.D., director, Center to Advance Palliative Care.

The Joint Commission’s Advanced Certification Program for Palliative Care evaluates the level of care and outcomes of a hospital’s palliative care program. The certification process includes a site visit by independent experts in palliative care and review of the program against the standards for palliative care, as well as an evaluation of performance improvement activities. Programs are awarded certification for a two-year period.

About The Joint Commission
Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more than 20,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, including more than 10,300 hospitals and home care organizations, and more than 6,500 other health care organizations that provide nursing and rehabilitation center care, behavioral health care, laboratory and ambulatory care services. The Joint Commission currently certifies more than 2,000 disease-specific care programs, focused on the care of patients with chronic illnesses such as stroke, joint replacement, stroke rehabilitation, heart failure and many others. The Joint Commission also provides health care staffing services certification for more than 750 staffing offices. An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at

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