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Certification is an independent evaluation that validates the quality of your palliative care program. This includes the specialized medical care you provide your patients for relief of symptoms, pain and the stress of serious illness — whatever the diagnosis or prognosis. And, our standards are designed to help you build a better, more organized program.

Joint Commission certification will emphasize to your patients, their families and your community that your organization has:

  • A formal, organized inpatient program led by an interdisciplinary team with expertise in palliative care
  • A special focus on patient and family engagement
  • Processes that support the coordination of care and communication among all care settings and providers

Industry Support

The following organizations encourage achievement of Joint Commission palliative care certification:

  • American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
  • Center for Advance Palliative Care
  • National Palliative Care Research Center

In fact, here’s what Diane E. Meier, M.D. from the Center for Advance Palliative Care and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has to say about the Joint Commission’s Palliative Care Certification Program:

“Palliative care is focused on maximizing quality of life for seriously ill patients and their families. Over 1900 leading U.S. hospitals today have a palliative care team, and Joint Commission recognition of the importance of palliative care to overall quality of care represents a giant step forward for the field. I know I am joined by colleagues across the country when I express my appreciation to The Joint Commission for helping to ensure that all palliative care teams deliver care of uniformly high quality.”


Achieving certification helps you: 
  • Reduce unwanted variations in care and improve the patient experience
  • Improve efficiencies and outcomes at a potential lower cost 
  • Align communication and collaboration among all disciplines
  • Position your service line to effectively face new challenges
  • Promote a culture of excellence to boost retention and recruitment of talent

What It Takes To Be Certified

To be ready for the Joint Commission palliative care certification, your palliative care program should:

  • Follow an organized approach supported by an interdisciplinary team of health professionals.
  • Use standardized clinical practice guidelines or evidence-based practices.
  • Have the ability to direct the clinical management of patients and coordinate care.
  • Provide the full range of palliative care services to hospitalized patients 24 hours per day, seven days a week (either with on-site or on-call staff).
  • Use performance measurement to improve your performance over time.
  • Collect data for standardized performance measures. A minimum of four months of performance measure data must be available at the time of the initial on-site certification review.

Performance Measurement

Joint Commission-certified programs and organizations seeking initial certification are required to adopt a set of standardized performance measures. Organizations collect monthly data for each measure in the set. The data is then submitted quarterly to The Joint Commission. 


The following resources will help you begin or simply contact us and we will answer your question to help you get started.