Hackensack University Medical Center is first hospital in the nation to obtain Disease Specific Certification Designation for Parkinson’s disease from the Joint Commission for Accreditation of Hospitals.

 Several recent studies have revealed a perilous vulnerability for people with Parkinson’s disease who find themselves in the hospital for one reason or another. Most patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) are admitted to the hospital for non-Parkinson’s reasons. No matter what the reason, the results are often the same.

PD patients end up staying in the hospital longer and can have more hospital related complications than those who do not have Parkinson’s disease. In an effort to mitigate these hazardous circumstances and affect change in the hospital care of PD patients, a multidisciplinary team led by Hooman Azmi, M.D., chief of Functional, Restorative and Image Guided Neurosurgery at Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center, developed a program for improved care of patients with Parkinson’s disease who have been admitted to the hospital. 

On June 15, 2018, Hackensack University Medical Center announced it had earned the Joint Commission certification for its Parkinson’s disease program, achieving distinction as the only Parkinson’s disease acute care program in the country.

“I commend Dr. Azmi and his team for this outstanding achievement,” said Ihor S. Sawczuk, M.D., FACS, president of Hackensack University Medical Center. “The Joint Commission’s certification of our Parkinson’s disease program is a reflection of our medical center’s commitment to provide excellent clinical treatment and truly compassionate care to our patients and their families.”

The Joint Commission for Accreditation of Hospitals is an organization that certifies and accredits hospitals in the U.S. and internationally. Through their Disease Specific Certification Accreditation, the Joint Commission recognizes special expertise in the care of a particular patient population. While many hospitals have Disease Specific Certification Designations for various programs, Hackensack MeridianHealth Hackensack University Medical Center is the first in the nation to obtain this designation for the care of hospitalized Parkinson’s patients.

“We are very proud of this program which took years of dedication and hard work from a large team,” said Dr. Azmi. “Our shared mission has been elevation of the care of patients with Parkinson’s disease in the hospital, and while receiving the accreditation is a great achievement, our work is just beginning.”

The Joint Commission team conducted a full day review at Hackensack University Medical Center, including a record survey, data session, competency and credentialing session and team member discussion specific to care received by patients with Parkinson’s disease.  

Surveyors remarked on particular excellence in the education of team members regarding the care of Parkinson’s disease patients and team members’ breadth of knowledge on the subject. They also commended the medical center for undertaking the task of developing this program and seeking certification in an acute care setting.

An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission accredits and certifies nearly 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. Joint Commission accreditation and certification is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to meeting certain performance standards.

The Joint Commission’s goal is to improve health care for the public by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value.

According to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, as many as one million Americans live with PD, which is more than the combined number of people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and Lou Gehrig’s disease. Having Parkinson’s is difficult enough for the patient and the caretaker, but landing in hospital with PD may be particularly hazardous.  In general, the familiarity of healthcare providers and staff with Parkinson’s disease is limited.  Moreover, PD patients are often admitted to non-neurological wards where there is even less familiarity.  As a result, 60-70 percent of patients are not given their medications on time, and many receive contraindicated medications. These errors in medication increase the risk of serious complications, such as falls, infections, delirium and aspiration pneumonia. 

The initiative at Hackensack University Medical Center, which involves a multidisciplinary team, including physicians, nursing, pharmacy and Information Technology: ensures familiarity with Parkinson’s disease and its management throughout the hospital; aims to ensure Parkinson’s patients take their PD medications on time every time; minimizes the risk of administration of contraindicated medications; and aims to reduce the hospital complications of patients with Parkinson’s disease.

By Mara Quigley

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.