July 22, 2021

The Joint Commission revises Sentinel Event definition, policy

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

The Joint Commission on July 21 announced new revisions to its Sentinel Event definition and policy that will apply to all accreditation and certification programs, except for Health Care Staffing Services and Integrated Care certification programs, effective January 1, 2022.

The revisions clarify expectations regarding an organization’s partnership and collaboration with The Joint Commission’s Office of Quality and Patient Safety and the differences between severe harm (which may or may not be permanent) and permanent harm (regardless of severity).


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The revisions also remove redundant and duplicate content, explain how to complete a comprehensive systematic analysis and develop an action plan, and clarify content to determine whether a patient safety incident meets criteria for a sentinel event review.

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