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Infection Prevention

We want your stay to be as pleasant as possible. Stopping the spread of germs and preventing infections is the goal of UPMC’s Infection Prevention and Control Program. We take steps to prevent germs and infections from traveling from patient to patient, from patient to staff and visitors, or from staff to patients and visitors.

Here are some important steps you — and your visitors — can take:

  • Frequently wash your hands.
    • It’s the most important thing you can do to stop the spread of germs and infections. Hand washing sinks and hand sanitizer dispensers are readily available throughout UPMC.
    • Use soap and water to wash your hands if you touch surfaces contaminated with blood or body fluids, bedpans, dressings, or other soiled items, and after using the bathroom or bedpan.
    • Hand sanitizer may be used if your hands are not visibly soiled.
  • Ask to Mask.
    • Although masking is not a requirement for those working in the hospital at this time, you are able to ask any staff or visitor in your room to put on a mask. Masks are readily available throughout UPMC.
  • Discourage visitors who are sick.
    • If your family or friends are feeling ill, please ask them not to come to the hospital to visit you as a patient.
  • If coughing or sneezing occurs,
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve (elbow).
    • Always wash your hands after you cough or sneeze and use a tissue.
  • Expect precautions.
    • Our health care workers will wear gloves, gowns, masks, or eye protection if needed while caring for you in the hospital. In addition to washing hands and cleaning surfaces, these are known as “standard precautions.”
    • Sometimes “special precautions” are necessary to prevent infection. Health care workers will wear gloves, gowns, or masks depending on the germ. If these are necessary, your family and other visitors may also be required to wear gloves, gowns, or masks, to keep everyone safe.

UPMC’s Infection Prevention and Control Program

UPMC’s Infection Prevention and Control Program follows evidence-based practices to prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs).

Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) are infections that you are diagnosed with while receiving treatment at a healthcare facility, like a hospital. They can get into your bloodstream, lungs, skin, urinary tract, or digestive tract, making you very sick. These infections are also very hard to treat and can stay with you for a long time. In the worst cases these infections can also be deadly.

A Standardized Infection Ratio (SIR) is used to monitor HAIs happening in the hospital.

  • SIR compares a hospital’s number of infections with an expected number of infections after taking into account factors such as hospital size and type of care provided.
  • Hospitals with a SIR less than 1 have fewer infections than expected, but hospitals with a SIR of greater than 1 have more infections than expected.
  • The SIR is not exact, and may go up and down, especially for smaller hospitals.
  • Sometimes a SIR cannot be shown if the number of patients in the monitored time period is too low to calculate a value.

Learn more about UPMC’s efforts to prevent HAIs: