In 2006, the National Quality Forum (NQF) issued a report detailing 38 Preferred Practices for Palliative and Hospice Care Quality. NQF used the Clinical Practice Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care as the starting point for developing Preferred Practices and was guided in its deliberations by the following definitions:
Palliative care refers to patient- and family-centered care that optimizes quality of life by anticipating, preventing, and treating suffering. Palliative care throughout the continuum of illness involves addressing physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual needs and facilitating patient autonomy, access to information, and choice. Hospice care is a service delivery system that provides palliative care for patients who have a limited life expectancy and require comprehensive biomedical, psychosocial, and spiritual support as they enter the terminal stage of an illness or condition. It also supports family members coping with the complex consequences of illness, disability, and aging as death nears.
Hospice care further addresses the bereavement needs of the family following the death of the patient.
The Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) has developed a document that provides a crosswalk between The Joint Commission standards and palliative care. This document will assist programs in developing the necessary policies and associated clinical tools and resources to ensure that a palliative care program meets the NQF’s Preferred Practices. This document is divided into three sections:
I. Index of Preferred Practices, Policies, Tools and Resources
II. Sample Policies developed by existing hospital-based palliative care programs. Hospitals can adapt these tools to fit their institutions’ needs.
III. Tools/Resources to implement the Preferred Practices. Hospitals can adapt these tools to fit their institutions’ needs.