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Brattleboro Retreat program gets OK’d as ‘Leading Practice’ from Joint Commission

BRATTLEBORO—The Brattleboro Retreat’s inpatient unit treatment programming known as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) was recently adopted by The Joint Commission as a Leading Practice for Hospital and Behavioral Health Programs.

Submissions to the Joint Commission’s Leading Practice Library undergo rigorous clinical review. According to Joint Commission officials, the Retreat’s ACT programming was accepted because “it supports quality and safety, and is felt to be of benefit to other organizations.”

The Joint Commission is an independent accrediting organization that certifies approximately 21,000 healthcare programs and organizations across the U.S. Joint Commission accreditation is widely recognized as a symbol of quality and a commitment to meeting certain performance standards.

“Having the Retreat’s ACT programming included in the Leading Practices Library allows us to share with hospitals around the world the determined efforts of our nursing, social work, psychiatry, and MHW staff to initiate evidence based programming on our units,” said Kirk Woodring, LICSW, the Retreat’s Chief Clinical Officer, said in a news release.

While many hospitals depend on the training and interests of staff members to develop clinical programming, fewer rely on scientifically proven approaches that have been shown to be effective for quality patient care.

The Retreat’s Dr. Frank Gallo spearheaded development and training for a comprehensive ACT program model that Joint Commission representatives recognized as “cutting edge” during the Retreat’s successful October 2017 survey.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a “third-wave” behavioral treatment technology that uses mindfulness, breath training, activities, and metaphors to help participants become less fused to their problems and more directed on attaining what is meaningful to them.

As a therapeutic model, ACT has been extensively researched and reviewed, and has been included in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s national registry of evidence-based programs and practices.

In early 2017, the Retreat began developing an ACT curriculum for inpatient programming along with staff training to facilitate that curriculum.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #448 (Wednesday, February 28, 2018).

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