Joint Commission to develop cultural awareness standards

December 1, 2008

The Joint Commission announced that it will revise and develop accreditation standards for culturally competent patient care in hospitals.

Pointing out how sensitivity and responsiveness to cultural and language needs affect quality of care, patient safety, and patient and family satisfaction, the Joint Commission announced that it will revise and develop accreditation standards for culturally competent patient care in hospitals. The initiative will explore how diversity, culture, language, and health literacy can be better incorporated into current Joint Commission standards or drafted into new requirements. The project will build on quality research the commission has conducted during the past few years in its ongoing Hospitals, Language, and Culture: A Snapshot of the Nation study, according to Modern Healthcare (9/2008). Development of the standards, which will be accompanied by a cultural best-practices guide, is being funded by a $347,000 grant from the Commonwealth Fund.

The standards, which are targeted to take effect in 2011, will be developed via a collaborative process, using comment from practitioners in the field.