NCCHC Releases Seven Updated Correctional Health Care Guidelines

Posted May 17, 2013

Treating chronic conditions such as asthma, obesity, diabetes, hyperlipidia and hypertension in the correctional population involves unique challenges for assessment and diagnosis, patient education and self-management and treatment. In addition, institutions risk serious liability if these conditions are not treated appropriately.

To improve the treatment of these chronic diseases, experts working on committees of the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) have reviewed and updated seven guidelines for adults and adolescents. They are Guidelines for Asthma (Adult and Adolescent); Guidelines for Diabetes (Adult and Adolescent); Guidelines for Hyperlipidemia (Adult), Guidelines for Hypertension (Adult) and Guidelines for Obesity (Adolescent). All of the guidelines are available for free download at

The guidelines are adapted for the correctional setting from nationally accepted clinical guidelines issued by organizations such as the National Institutes of Health; the American Diabetes Association; the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They are meant to supplement—not replace—these clinical guidelines. Each guideline provides a list of recommended resources to support evidence-based practice and quality improvement.

NCCHC guidelines encourage total disease management, which requires clear indicators of the degree of control of the patient’s disease and the more subtle distinction as to whether the condition is stable, improving or deteriorating. With a focus on the challenges and special considerations inherent in correctional settings, they are designed to help health care providers improve patient outcomes. However, the guidelines cannot and do not substitute for clinical professional judgment based on a patient's presentation.