6 Joint Commission sentinel alerts, safety advisories in 2023

So far in 2023, The Joint Commission has issued a total of six sentinel alerts and safety advisories.

Sentinel alerts describe common underlying causes regarding certain sentinel and adverse events and high risk conditions. They also offer steps to reduce risks. The accrediting body also issues safety advisories, which outline an incident or trend in healthcare that pose a risk to patient safety.

Sentinel alerts

In August, The Joint Commission published a sentinel alert regarding cybersecurity in healthcare, outlining the risks linked to these attacks. Read the recommended guidelines in the event of an IT security event here. 

In January, the group published a sentinel alert on eliminating maternal health disparities, recommending healthcare organizations provide prenatal, perinatal and postpartum care that supports diversity, equity and inclusion. 

Safety advisories 

The Joint Commission issued a quick safety advisory Oct. 9 with best practices for the early identification of severe pressure injuries.

In April, The Joint Commission sharedrecommendations on how to prevent light source-related burns that can occur during laparoscopic or arthroscopic procedures. Recommended actions to prevent patient burns related to these scopes include labeling light sources with a warning message, only turning on the light source after the cable is connected to the scope, and educating all team members involved in laparoscopic or arthroscopic procedures on safe handling practices.

In March, a safety advisory was issued with best practices and guidelines related to suicide risk screening. When using validated screening tools, healthcare organizations should closely follow the tool's directions and not change the wording of questions, since small changes can affect accuracy. Read morehere

Alongside the sentinel alert on maternal health disparities in January, The Joint Commission issued a safety advisory on mental health conditions as the most frequent underlying cause of pregnancy-related deaths. It also outlines a list of safety actions for healthcare organizations to consider, including the establishment of a clinical workflow to improve identification of suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

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