Torrance’s palliative care deemed ‘model for the nation’

June 16, 2016

Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center Torrance (PLCMMC-T) has earned recertification as a Center of Excellence for Palliative Care from the Joint Commission, which called the program a “model for the nation.” In 2014, the Palliative Program at Torrance was the first in Providence – and among the first in California – to receive Joint Commission certification as a Center of Excellence for Palliative Care.

“What differentiated us this time from all the rest of the other palliative programs was the work we’re doing with the Providence Institute for Human Caring and TrinityCare Hospice,” said Glen Komatsu, M.D., the Institute’s senior advisor for strategy and education and chief medical officer for TrinityCare and regional palliative care. “It’s this seamless integration that the surveyor said was unique, but it’s an exemplar that could and should be replicated everywhere.”

The Joint Commission surveyor interviewed five patients, including family members of patients who were nonverbal. The surveyor stopped doctors, nurses and other staff at random in the halls to ask about Torrance’s palliative care program.

“The entire team really stepped up, but it was about the hospital as much as it was about the team,” Dr. Komatsu said. “We had to show that the whole hospital knows about palliative care. And we had to demonstrate that every patient receiving palliative care has psycho-social and spiritual assessments, as well as medical care. As a Center of Excellence, we have to meet the highest standards.”

The Institute for Human Caring provides information, education, training and resources, including:

  • intensive bedside simulation workshops on how to have serious illness conversations
  • videos that show caregivers and patients what certain treatments and procedures can and cannot do
  • tool kits for patients, their families and caregivers that encourage use of advance directives.

The Institute also has forged partnerships with key organizations, such as the Center to Advance Palliative Care, Ariadne Labs, and ACP Decisions. Torrance is among those pressure-testing the training and resources that the Institute provides, ahead of eventual roll-out across the Providence system.

Providence TrinityCare Hospice provides a full range of palliative care, hospice care and compassionate support to patients and their families throughout Southern California, with services tailored to each individual. All care is provided wherever patients and their families are needed – in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, and in the patient’s own homes.

The Joint Commission’s palliative care certification standards are built on The National Consensus Project’s Clinical Practice Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care and the National Quality Forum’s National Framework and Preferred Practices for Palliative and Hospice Quality Care. Palliative care addresses a patient’s, physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs and facilitates patient autonomy, access to information and choice.

“This bold collaboration among the hospital, the Institute for Human Caring and TrinityCare Hospice has created a whole-person care template for not only Providence, but as the Joint Commission noted, the entire country,” said Mary Kingston, chief executive, South Bay Community. “This distinction shows that PLCMMC-T’s palliative care program exceeds national best practices, while fortifying our commitment to compassionate palliative and end-of-life care.”