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News & Press: Regulations & Policy

Joint Commission Issues Guidance on Pulse Oximetry Use in Home Care

Wednesday, March 7, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Robin Childers
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Following publication in the Home Health Section Winter 2018 Quarterly Report (Vol. 53 N1) of an article titled Pulse Oximetry: Overview & Use in Practice, there was a flurry of discussion about the need for a physician order for pulse oximetry in the home care setting, based upon The Joint Commission's advice at the time. With APTA's assistance, we were able to get The Joint Commission to issue an updated clarification related to pulse oximetry use in home care as follows:

"Provision of Care, Treatment, and Services (PC) (Home Care / Home Care)
Pulse Oximetry - Order by Physician/Licensed Independent Practitioner
Is a Physician/Licensed Independent Practitioner's order required for the use of a pulse oximeter?

"The Joint Commission standards do not require an order for pulse oximetry. In addition, CMS does not have any requirements which prohibit the use of pulse oximetry without a physician’s order.

The use of pulse oximetry on a prn basis may be viewed as a part of vital signs. A therapist or nurse can use their clinical judgment to do an occasional pulse oximetry reading, and that would not need to be on the POC. However, if it is a regular part of their care, the nurse/therapist should put it on the POC/485. For example, in the case of a patient with known cardiopulmonary disease when pulse oximetry is being used for ongoing monitoring this should be included on the patient’s plan of care."


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