North Shore University Hospital’s Palliative Care Program Receives Advanced Certification Status from the Joint Commission

MANHASSET, NY – The Palliative Care Program at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH) was recently awarded advanced certification status by The Joint Commission, which accredits and certifies more than 19,000 healthcare organizations and programs in the United States. NSUH is one of only six hospitals in the country to receive this honor for excellence in palliative care from The Joint Commission, whose accreditation and certification is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to meeting certain performance standards.

Palliative care is defined as specialized medical care for people with advanced illness. This type of care is focused on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of their disease. North Shore University Hospital (NSUH) has a dedicated 10-bed palliative care unit. Care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work with the patient’s team of healthcare providers to produce an extra layer of support.

"This national distinction was achieved through the visionary leadership of Michael Dowling, the president and CEO of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, the support of our hospital leaders and the specialized palliative care team committed to improving care for patients with serious illness and their families,” said Dana Lustbader, MD, section head of palliative medicine. “Our primary goal is to align treatments with patient preferences while relieving suffering.  Research shows that patients with advanced illness who get palliative care live longer. Palliative care is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness, and can be provided together with curative treatment."

The Joint Commission’s 2012 advanced certification status signifies that the NSUH palliative care team has achieved a national level of excellence for patient and family-centered care. Jeremy Boal, MD, North Shore-LIJ's chief medical officer, said education and improved communication are critical components in successful palliative care programs. “We need to understand our patients’ preferences for care so that we can build the best approach to meeting those preferences and goals,” said Dr. Boal. “Many patients with advanced illness would choose care focused on maintaining comfort and dignity over more aggressive forms of care if they were well informed of the benefits and burdens of such care. Others would choose more aggressive care.  In either case, our responsibility is to understand their needs and goals and to meet them.”

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