The Joint Commission recognizes the incredible challenge that health care organizations and front-line workers face with the COVID-19 crisis. Read a letter and watch a video from our CEO.

Statements to Support Our Health Care Providers

August 14, 2020 – Removal of Position Statement

May 27, 2020 – Regular Surveys and Reviews to Resume in June — With Some Changes to Protect Safety

May 12, 2020 – Statement on Removing Barriers to Mental Health Care for Clinicians and Health Care Staff

April 6, 2020 – FAQ in Response to The Joint Commission Statement on Use of Face Masks Brought From Home

For additional statements, please see Webinars and Communications from The Joint Commission below.

Real Voices. Real Stories.

Just like many of you, Joint Commission enterprise staff who are also working on the front lines are facing real challenges. We’d like to share some of their personal experiences.

View storiesRead stories from Joint Commission staff working on the front lines of COVID-19

Resources related to personal protective equipment:

The Joint Commission statement on shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) amid COVID-19 pandemic.

Face Mask Posters and Infographics

Videos 

Consistent with CDC recommendations as of March 24, 2020 

Note: 

As of March 24, 2020, CDC recommends:

  • Contact Plus Droplet plus Eye Protection when providing routine care to known or suspected COVID-19 patients. 
  • Airborne Plus Droplet plus Eye Protection when performing aerosol generating procedures on known or suspected COVID-19 patients. 

These videos provide an example using disposable gowns.  It is essential that the instructions to employees take into account the specific PPE the facility is using (e.g., reusable versus disposable gown, N95, PAPR, or surgical mask, goggles, glasses with side shields, or faces mask ) being used as well as the physical layout (e.g., ante-room, no ante-room, multiple patient room) and how the organization is utilizing the PPE (e.g., single use, reuse, or extended use). 

Combinations of PPE should be considered.  For example, if practicing extended use of N95 respirators (recommended by NIOSH) the organization should consider using face shields that will protect the respirator from splashes or splatters and prevent staff from inadvertently touching surfaces of the respirator while in use.

FAQs 

CDC Guidance on Managing Critical Shortages

CDC Guidance on Optimizing the Supply of PPE During Shortages

  • Summary Strategies to Optimize the Supply of PPE during Shortages

CDC Guidance on Cloth Face Coverings

FDA Guidance on Managing Critical Shortages

Note: In reviewing FDA guidance on strategies to conserve gloves, you need to know what type of gloves you use in your facility (e.g., latex, vinyl and nitrile). It is safe to use alcohol-based hand rub on latex and nitrile gloves. But the FDA states that alcohol is not recommended for cleaning vinyl gloves because it may degrade them. 

ECRI – Hazard Report

OSHA – Temporary Enforcement Guidance for Initial and Annual Fit-testing Requirements

Recommendations for PPE Conservation and Management

Disinfection/Decontamination of Masks and Respirators

  • Can single use respirators be decontaminated? Read FAQ

Note: Agencies, such as States, the CDC, FDA and other stakeholders, including safety organizations, have provided guidance on this practice. The resources below are listed as a service. The Joint Commission does not endorse any specific method or product. 

UV Light Disinfection

Vaporized Hydrogen Peroxide

Low Temperature Sterilization

Overview of Decontamination Processes

Guidance related to ventilators:

There are intensive efforts underway across the country to try to ensure that the supply of ventilators in the U.S. will be adequate to meet the needs of all COVID-19 patients requiring one. Healthcare leaders and clinical directors should review the FDA’s guidance and the other resources below on mitigation strategies when facing ventilator shortages.

If Shortages Occur Despite Mitigation Strategies
Even with these mitigation strategies, the possibility remains that shortages will occur, and clinicians and healthcare leaders will face the decision of whether to place two patients with COVID-19 on a single ventilator. Experts have differing opinions about whether ventilator sharing can be done safely and effectively. The Joint Commission does not endorse any position because there is not sufficient evidence to guide us. In such situations, we usually remain silent, but we think it is important to provide resources for those who might be facing this difficult decision.

The Society of Critical Care Medicine, in partnership with several other organizations, advises clinicians to not attempt to share mechanical ventilators because it cannot be done safely: “Attempting to ventilate multiple patients with COVID-19…could lead to poor outcomes and high mortality rates for all patients cohorted. …it is better to purpose the ventilator to the patient most likely to benefit than fail to prevent, or even cause, the demise of multiple patients.”

Other organizations have drawn different conclusions and have provided advice on how to set up systems to share ventilators:

High Flow Nasal Oxygen

  • Some patients can be effectively managed on nasal oxygen including high flow, but the risk of aerosolization should be considered and managed. The use of high‐flow nasal oxygen in COVID‐19
  • An FAQ from the ASA says that if patient oxygenation is not maintained on low-flow oxygen, higher oxygen flows may be unexpectedly needed that might increase aerosolization of COVID-containing respiratory secretions. Each patient will need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to consider the balance of aerosolization at the oxygen flow needed to maintain a satisfactory oxygen saturation, and whether to convert to a more closed airway system (LMA or ETT). How should I deliver supplemental O2 to a patient who is wearing a mask and who has or may have COVID-19? (View under Clinical Care section)

FDA Guidance

Other Guidance

Additional resources available regarding COVID-19:
Ambulatory health care-specific resources:

Note: For resources regarding PPE, please see the PPE section. For resources regarding Telehealth, please see the Staffing and Telehealth section.

Joint Commission Webinars

Leaders from The Joint Commission answer questions on topics including infection prevention and control, environment of care/life safety and Joint Commission standards.

Joint Commission FAQs

CDC Resources

Note: On April 13, 2020 the CDC updated their guidance to include asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission. Please refer to this guidance in addition to the resources listed here.

CMS Resources

FDA Resources

Other Resources

Resources Specific to Re-opening

Resources Specific to Secondary Disasters (e.g., Hurricanes)

Behavioral health care and human services specific resources:

Note: For resources regarding Telehealth, please see the Staffing and Telehealth section.

Joint Commission Webinars

In the following webinar, leaders from The Joint Commission answer questions on topics including infection prevention and control, environment of care/life safety, CMS 1135 waivers and Joint Commission standards.

FDA Resources

Other Resources

Note: On April 13, 2020 the CDC updated their guidance to include asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission. Please refer to this guidance in addition to the resources listed here.

Home care-specific resources:

Note: For resources regarding PPE, please see the PPE section. For more resources regarding Telehealth, please see the Staffing and Telehealth section. 

Leaders from The Joint Commission answer questions on topics including infection prevention and control, 1135 waivers and telehealth.

Infographics

Joint Commission FAQs

CDC Resources

Note: On April 13, 2020 the CDC updated their guidance to include asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission. Please refer to this guidance in addition to the resources listed here.

Resources Specific to Hospice

Resources Specific to Pharmacy Infusion/Specialty/Ambulatory Infusion

Joint Commission FAQs

FDA Resources

Hospital-specific resources:

Note: For resources regarding PPE, Ventilators and other relevant topics, please see the appropriate section on this webpage.

Joint Commission Webinars

Leaders from The Joint Commission answer questions on topics including infection prevention and control, life safety and 1135 waivers.

Disease-Specific Care Q&A Webinar

Recommendations on Hospital Surge Capacity

Infographics

FDA Resources

Note: On April 13, 2020 the CDC updated their guidance to include asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission. Please refer to this guidance in addition to the resources listed here.

Laboratory services-specific resources:

Note: For resources regarding PPE, please see the PPE section.

Joint Commission FAQs

Joint Commission Webinars

Leaders from The Joint Commission answer questions on topics including infection prevention and control, environment of care/life safety, CMS 1135 Waivers, and Joint Commission standards.

CDC Resources

Note: On April 13, 2020 the CDC updated their guidance to include asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission. Please refer to this guidance in addition to the resources listed here.

FDA Resources

CMS Resources

Nursing care center-specific resources:

Note: For resources regarding PPE, please see the PPE section.

Joint Commission Webinars

Leaders from The Joint Commission answer questions on topics including infection prevention and control, environment of care/life safety, CMS 1135 Waivers, and Joint Commission standards.

PPE Videos

Consistent with CDC recommendations as of March 24, 2020

Joint Commission FAQs 

CDC Guidance

Note: On April 13, 2020 the CDC updated their guidance to include asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission. Please refer to this guidance in addition to the resources listed here.

CMS Guidance

FDA Resources

Other Resources

Infographics

Blog

Resources Specific to Re-opening

Watch webinar replays and read communications from The Joint Commission:
Webinar Replays

Hospital Q&A Webinars

Leaders from The Joint Commission answer questions on topics including infection prevention and control, life safety and 1135 waivers.

Home Care Q&A Webinars

Leaders from The Joint Commission answer questions on topics including infection prevention and control, 1135 waivers and telehealth. 

Laboratory Q&A Webinar

Leaders from The Joint Commission answer questions on topics including infection prevention and control, environment of care/life safety, CMS 1135 Waivers, and Joint Commission standards.

Behavioral Health Care Q&A Webinar

Leaders from The Joint Commission answer questions on topics including infection prevention and control, environment of care/life safety, CMS 1135 waivers and Joint Commission standards.

Nursing Care Centers Q&A Webinar

Leaders from The Joint Commission answer questions on topics including infection prevention and control, environment of care/life safety, CMS 1135 Waivers, and Joint Commission standards.

Ambulatory Health Care Q&A Webinar

Leaders from The Joint Commission answer questions on topics including infection prevention and control, environment of care/life safety and Joint Commission standards.

Disease-Specific Care Q&A Webinar

Leaders from The Joint Commission answer questions on topics including infection prevention and control, 1135 waivers and Joint Commission standards.

Communications
  • August 14, 2020 – Removal of Position Statement
  • May 27, 2020 – Regular Surveys and Reviews to Resume in June — With Some Changes to Protect Safety
  • May 12, 2020 – Statement on Removing Barriers to Mental Health Care for Clinicians and Health Care Staff.
  • April 23, 2020 – Universal Masking Statement.
  • April 6, 2020 – FAQ in Response to The Joint Commission Statement on Use of Face Masks Brought From Home.
  • April 1, 2020 – All Joint Commission surveys and reviews will remain on hold until the end of May.
  • March 31, 2020 – Joint Commission Statement on Use of Face Masks Brought From Home.
  • March 27, 2020 – Public Statement on the Shortages of Critical Medical Equipment.
  • March 16, 2020 – The Joint Commission is suspending all regular surveying.
  • March 9, 2020 – The Joint Commission continues to actively monitor COVID-19 activity.
  • February 25, 2020 – The Joint Commission believes it is time for hospitals to prepare for a possible surge of Coronavirus patients.
  • February 14, 2020 – Information and guidance on what your organization needs to know about COVID-19.

Blogs

Joint Commission Advocacy Actions to Aid Health Care Organizations in Response to COVID-19:

For more information, visit our Federal Relations and Public Policy page.

Federal Relations and Public PolicyLearn more about Federal Relations and Public Policy

CDC Resources

FDA Resources

Additional resources:

 

Disclaimer: The Joint Commission’s placement of content on this website is not an endorsement of the source nor of any particular product or service, nor should it be construed as a statement that the source, or its products or services, are superior to those of other companies. Website users acknowledge The Joint Commission may not be the primary source of the content. By accessing and using website resources, website users agree to make no claim of any kind against The Joint Commission for any and all damages that result from use or implementation of any website content. Some items included on these pages (such as Joint Commission monographs) were developed several years ago.  While much of the content remains relevant, users should be aware that the information has not been updated.