UPMC has been officially approved as an Ebola Assessment/Treatment Facility for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The health system is now formally included in the state’s Ebola Concept of Operations plan, enabling UPMC to play a key role in protecting the community while caring for patients with the highly contagious and deadly disease.
The designation was received as a result of a recent series of site visits, as well as a drill conducted at UPMC Presbyterian and Montefiore hospitals at its new Infectious Disease Unit. Local, state and federal health officials observed as UPMC practiced scenarios involving children and adults suspected of having Ebola.
“We appreciate all the work that UPMC did and commend this designation,” said Dr. Karen Hacker, director of the Allegheny County Health Department. “While there is no current risk of Ebola, the continued efforts of the health care community to meet this high level of safety related to emerging contagious diseases is a critical safeguard for our county.”
The drills UPMC performed were designed to demonstrate the ability of clinicians to provide care for very sick patients while safely using personal protective clothing and equipment, containing potentially contagious bodily fluids and communicating with their coworkers.
Normally, UPMC’s Infectious Disease Unit is used as a regular intensive care unit, caring for UPMC’s sickest patients. But, when it becomes necessary to care for a patient with a highly contagious disease, the unit can be cleared and quickly transformed into a specialized unit with two isolation hospital rooms, a laboratory capable of performing diagnostic tests, and separate rooms where clinicians can don and doff protective uniforms and equipment.
“This designation is the result of many years of hard work by people across a wide swath of disciplines at UPMC, from emergency preparedness and infection control to environmental services and nursing,” said Tami Minnier, chief quality officer at UPMC. “This effort will improve the safety of our region. We especially want to recognize our dozens of staff who selflessly stepped up when we called for volunteers to undergo the rigorous training needed to safely treat a patient with Ebola.”
Click on the gallery below for more photos taken from a recent Ebola drill.