Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - Broward Health Medical Center Becomes First in Florida to Receive Joint Commission Advanced Certification in Palliative Care
Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – Broward Health Medical Center has received the Advanced Certification in Palliative Care from The Joint Commission, becoming the first hospital in the state to receive the accreditation. The Joint Commission’s Advanced Certification for Palliative Care recognizes hospital inpatient programs that demonstrate exceptional patient and family-centered care and optimize the quality of life for patients with serious illnesses.

“In 1994, Broward Health had the foresight to start a palliative care program at a time when few had even heard of the word ‘palliative,’” said Pamela M. Sutton, M.D., director of palliative care services for Broward Health.  “In 2005, the Circle of Life Citation of Honor was awarded to the Barbara Ziegler Palliative Care Program for its groundbreaking work in bringing comfort and care to seriously ill patients and their families.  Now, in 2013, The Joint Commission has added its accolades to this unique program that improves the lives of Broward Health patients.”  

Palliative care provides patients of any age and at any stage of illness with relief from their symptoms, which often include pain and stress. Teams of doctors, nurses and other specialists offer added support to improve quality of life for patients and their families.

“This designation is a great honor, and we are proud to be named the first Advanced Palliative Care Center in the state of Florida,” said Heather Miller, director of cancer services at Broward Health Medical Center. “Our organization always knew we had an excellent palliative care program, so the decision to pursue certification seemed like a natural next step.”

To receive the Advanced Certification for Palliative Care accreditation, Broward Health Medical Center passed onsite certification reviews conducted by palliative care experts. The certification decision was based on the evaluation of standards, clinical practice guidelines and performance measurement activities.

Palliative care programs that successfully demonstrate compliance are awarded certification for a two-year period. When evaluating these programs, The Joint Commission takes into consideration whether:

•    There is a formal, organized palliative care program led by an interdisciplinary team whose members are experts in palliative care.
•    Leadership endorses and supports the program’s goals for providing care, treatment and services.
•    A special emphasis is placed on patient and family engagement.
•    Processes support the coordination of care and communication among all care settings and providers.
•    There is use of evidence-based national guidelines or expert consensus to guide patient care.

“Preparing for our certification helped strengthen our commitment to quality outcomes and patient care improvements for pediatric and adult patients with life-threatening illnesses. Although we may not be able to change the fact that patients and families have to endure this battle, we can have an impact on the outcome and journey,” said Miller.

Broward Health, providing service for more than 70 years, is a nationally recognized system offering world class healthcare services to our neighbors in South Florida. Broward Health includes Broward Health Medical Center, Broward Health North, Broward Health Imperial Point, Broward Health Coral Springs, Chris Evert Children’s Hospital, Broward Health Weston, Broward Health Community Health Services, Broward Health Physician Group and Broward Health Foundation. For more information, visit