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New NQF Endorsed Standards Focus on Quality and Patient Experience in Home Health Care
Date:4/8/2009

20 measures address quality, safety and patient engagement

WASHINGTON, April 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Quality Forum has endorsed 20 new measures to help improve both quality and the patient experience in home health care. The measures can be used to measure and improve the quality of care delivered in the patient's home.

More than 7 million Americans receive professional healthcare in their homes each year after discharge from hospitals or nursing homes or because of acute illness, long-term health conditions, disability, or terminal illness. In 2007 annual expenditures for home health care were projected to be $57.6 billion. Yet improvements in the quality of home health care have been slow--averaging only one percent in 2006 on a limited set of measures.

"Professional home health care is an integral part of the healthcare system and an important step in the continuum of care for millions of patients," said Janet Corrigan NQF president and CEO. "These measures will provide important direction in improving the care patients receive in their homes."

The measures endorsed by NQF focus on eight main areas of home health care: timely initiation of care; patient and caregiver education; preventive services; pain intervention and assessment; improvement and assessment of clinical symptoms; improvement in functional status; assessment of need for emergency care or hospitalization; and patient experience of care.

Patient experience of care is measured via the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) survey which allows patients and their families to report their experience of home health care. In addition, other measures address areas such as receipt of flu shots, depression screening, improvements in mobility, pain reduction, and the percentage of home health care patients who need hospital or emergency care.

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SOURCE National Quality Forum
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