Joint Commission revises sentinel event definition of sexual assault

The Joint Commission revised its sentinel event definition of sexual assault or abuse to include social media and related technology. 

This definition goes into effect Jan. 1, 2023, and applies for all Joint Commission accreditation and certification programs except the Health Care Staffing Services and Integrated Care Certification programs, The Joint Commission said in an Oct. 19 news release. 

According to its report on the most common sentinel events of 2022, sexual assault was sixth. 

The Joint Commission defines a sentinel event as a patient safety event that results in death, permanent harm, severe temporary harm or intervention required to sustain life. 

The new definition also provides other changes including updated criteria for sexual assault events with external entities and clearer guidance for identifying these events and expectations.

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