Joint Commission aligns patient visitation rights requirements with CMS

Accreditation Connection, July 15, 2011

The Joint Commission has updated two Elements of Performance (EP) under its Patient Rights (RI) chapter to bring requirements for patient visitation more in line with CMS requirements. These changes announced July 13, 2011, were retroactively effective as of July 1, 2011.

Both changes were made under standard RI.01.01.01, which states that the hospital must promote, respect, and promote patient rights. EP 1 requires hospitals to have written policies on patient rights, and a new note for hospitals that use Joint Commission accreditation for deemed status, says the EP now requires hospitals address in those policies visitation rights procedures, such as restrictions or limitations (including those clinically necessary).

EP 2 requires hospitals communicate the patient of those rights. Under these new revisions, the hospital is required to inform the patient of these visitation rights. This includes, perhaps most significantly, the right to receive the visitors designated by the patient. These visitors include including, but not limited to, spouses, a domestic partners–including same sex domestic partners–friends, or family members. The note also states that the patient has the right to withdraw or deny such consent at any time.

Further details are expected in the August 2011 edition of Joint Commission Perspectives. More details can be found on The Joint Commission’s website here.

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