University Health System Certified in Palliative Care

April 08, 2013

Health System only the third in Texas to achieve advanced certification

University Health System has become only the third healthcare organization in Texas to receive Advanced Certification in Palliative Care from the Joint Commission, the national accrediting body for hospitals.

Palliative care is a holistic approach involving a multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses and other professionals to relieve pain and improve the quality of life for patients suffering from a serious illness. It can be delivered alongside traditional medical care, at any stage of an illness. Its focus includes the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of patients.

“We have worked hard to make our Palliative Care Program second to none,” said George B. Hernández Jr., president/CEO of University Health System. “This is a valuable service to our patients, helping to relieve the pain, symptoms and side effects of their illness or treatment, and helping them understand their condition and options. We’re proud to be among the first in Texas to achieve this advanced certification.”

The Joint Commission began the Advanced Certification Program for Palliative Care in September 2011. It recognizes hospital inpatient programs that demonstrate exceptional patient and family-centered care and improve the quality of life for patients of all ages.

The certification is for a two-year period and follows an on-site review by an expert surveyor. The surveyor was particularly impressed with the Health System’s own design of a palliative care interdisciplinary note as part of the electronic medical record, describing it as potentially an industry-wide best practice.

Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas and Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth are the only other two Texas hospitals to be certified in palliative care.

The Health System has also been certified as a primary stroke center by the Joint Commission.