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Joint Commission issues first SNF memory care certification

March 3, 2015
by Pamela Tabar, Editor-in-Chief
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A California nursing home is the first skilled nursing facility in the country to receive certification for memory care under the Joint Commission’s new program.

Chaparral House, Berkeley, Calif., built in 1978, stresses inclusion and engagement for all its 49 residents, encouraging those with cognitive difficulties to participate in daily routines and activities to the greatest extent possible, said KJ Page, Chaparral House’s administrator, in a Joint Commission release. “We value this recognition by the Joint Commission of our patient-centered care that helps people deal with the complex issues of aging while functioning as highly as they are able.”

The certification is based on new accreditation requirements for memory care services enacted in July 2014, when the commission’s memory care certification program began. Criteria:

  • Specialized care and service programming centered around a resident's unique needs, preferences, abilities and interests, that are led by a qualified individual experienced and trained in the care of people with dementia.
  • Advanced staff training and demonstrated competence in current best practices in dementia care.
  • Engaging mealtime, social and recreational experiences designed for residents with dementia that include families and opportunities for intergenerational activities.
  • Provision of a safe, functional environment that minimizes noises and confusing visual stimuli for residents with dementia.
  • An organizational learning culture, demonstrated by nursing home participation in activities sponsored by a national organization relating to dementia care.
  • Availability of support groups for family members of residents with dementia.

Skilled nursing centers that would like to pursue memory care certification can elect this option on the electronic application for accreditation available on the Joint Commission’s Connect extranet site. For more information, please email the commission at or call (630) 792-5020.

Related article: Joint Commission to certify nursing home memory care