RPCI’s Palliative Care Program Receives Advanced Certification from The Joint Commission

Comprehensive cancer center is one of 15 facilities nationwide to earn the distinction
Wednesday, July 18, 2012

BUFFALO, NY — The Department of Supportive & Palliative Care at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI), under the leadership of Yashodhara Satchidanand, MD, and Amy Alvarez, MD, has received Advanced Certification in Palliative Care for a two-year period from The Joint Commission. RPCI is the nation’s only dedicated cancer center, and one of 15 hospitals nationally, to receive advanced certification to date.

“Our team was very excited about receiving the certification. This validates our work and acknowledges that RPCI is known not only for cutting-edge research, but also for compassionate care,” said Dr. Satchidanand, a staff physician and Assistant Professor with the program.

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. It focuses on providing patients with relief from symptoms such as pain and the stresses of a serious illness — whatever the diagnosis. The goal of palliative care is to improve the quality of life for both the patient and the family as well as to work with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. Palliative care is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness, and can be provided together with curative treatment.

The Joint Commission (TJC) is an independent nonprofit organization that accredits and certifies more than 19,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. Its Advanced Certification Program for Palliative Care, launched in 2011, recognizes hospital inpatient programs that demonstrate exceptional patient and family-centered care and optimize quality of life for patients with serious illness. 



The TJC credentialing process for palliative care programs emphasizes:

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

Onsite certification reviews are conducted by reviewers with expertise in palliative care. The certification decision is based on the evaluation of standards, clinical practice guidelines and performance measurements.

“This certification allows us to enhance and help change the perception of palliative care as more than end-of-life care,” notes Dr. Alvarez, a physician with the Department of Supportive & Palliative Care. “It is care for the continuum of the cancer journey, focusing on the goals of the patients and their families.”

The mission of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. RPCI, founded in 1898, was one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. The Institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit RPCI’s website at http://www.roswellpark.org, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or email askrpci@roswellpark.org.

Media Contact: 

Annie Deck-Miller, Senior Media Relations Manager
716-845-8593; annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org