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Advanced Certification for Palliative Care

  • Program launched in 2011
  • Certification is awarded for a two-year period

The Advanced Certification for Palliative Care program recognizes hospital inpatient programs that demonstrate exceptional patient and family-centered care and optimize the quality of life for adult and pediatric patients with serious illnesses. Palliative care addresses a patient’s physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs, and facilitates patient autonomy, access to information and choice. The Advanced Certification Program for Palliative Care emphasizes:

  • A formal, organized program led by an interdisciplinary team whose members have advanced training in palliative care.
  • Leadership endorsement and support of the program’s goals for providing care, treatment and services.
  • A special focus on patient and family engagement.
  • Processes that support the coordination of care and communication among all providers in hospital settings.
  • The use of evidence-based national guidelines or expert consensus to support patient care processes.

Eligible organizations must have: 

  • A full-time service, where patients can access palliative care as needed, 24/7.
  • The ability to provide palliative care to the entire inpatient population.

Certification Process

On-site certification reviews are conducted by reviewers with expertise in palliative care. The certification decision is based on the evaluation of standards, clinical practice guidelines, and performance measurement and improvement activities. The certification cycle repeats with an on-site review conducted every two years and a biannual submission of an acceptable assessment of compliance by the organization.

The standards for palliative care advanced certification are built on the National Consensus Project’s Clinical Practice Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care, 3rd edition 2013 and the National Quality Forum’s National Framework and Preferred Practices for Palliative and Hospice Care Quality. Standards and expectations were developed using experts in palliative care and key stakeholder organizations.

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  • Benefits of certification
  • Requirements
  • Public information
  • Advanced Certification for Palliative Care
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