Medicare Prescription Drug Card benefit

CVAD (Central Vascular Access Device)

Hand Washing vs Hand Hygiene

DVT (Deep Venous Thrombosis) and PE (Pulmonary embolism).

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Joint Commission clamping down on the use of abbreviations in documentation.

Nurses Corner

I work for an agency that is JCAHO Accredited. I hear that Joint Commission is clamping down on the use of abbreviations in documentation as part of the 2004 National Patient Safety Goals. Why are they doing this when documentation is already overwhelming at times? Can you provide me with information where I can locate more information on this subject?

You are correct in how overwhelming documentation has become for home care clinicians over the last few years. However, JCAHO has identified the use of abbreviations as a danger in the care of many patients – noting medication errors as primary, many of which have been life threatening and some fatal. Interpretation has been the issue and as of this month – if your agency does not have nine essential abbreviations on their “do not use list” you will see dings on your next JCAHO survey.

Included in the taboo abbreviations are U, IU, Q.D., Q.O.D., trailing zero (X.0) and lack of leading zero (.X). You will also need to have three more abbreviations on your “do not use” list by April 1, 2004.

Check out the full abbreviation list, and related information at :

This is the debut of the VNAA’s new monthly online column, The Nurses Corner. Send us your questions - clinical, operational, educational, practical - and we’ll do our best to find the answers that will make your delivery of care more comprehensive. Please e-mail your questions to [email protected] and we’ll do our best to find you an answer.


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