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Infection Control

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  • PA Department of Health report (2012 Data) reaffirmed PinnacleHealth’s leadership among state hospitals in low infection rates. In multiple categories, our infection rates were lower than the Department of Health predicted for a hospital of PinnacleHealth’s size and scope, and significantly lower than expected in some areas.

  • 2012 VHA APEX award winner for low incidence of central line associated blood stream infections

  • Recognized by CMS for statistically lower rates of central line associated blood stream infections compared to national rate

  • Infection rates for all surgeries reported to CDC database (NHSN) are within or lower than the national comparison range.

  • Significant impact on sepsis patient outcomes published in May 2012 edition of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine

How We Prevent Infection at PinnacleHealth

At PinnacleHealth, we have a commitment to provide the safest and highest level of healthcare to our patients and to do everything possible to prevent the spread of infection at our facility.


Germs can be spread through the air (by coughing, sneezing) or by touching someone or something that is contaminated. The most important thing you can do to prevent the spread of infection is careful hand washing. Even if hands look clean, they can still carry harmful germs. You can clean your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub. 
At PinnacleHealth, handwashing is a priority. We educate our staff about when and how to wash their hands. Staff members and physicians are secretly observed to see if they are washing their hands when providing patient care. In 2013, there were over 3,500 handwashing observations performed with a result of 98% compliance with hospital handwashing requirements.

Staff Education

Our interventions have focused on educational programs for physicians, nurses and other clinical staff, utilizing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guidelines and IHI best practice recommendations.
PinnacleHealth has a consistently low rate of hospital associated multi-drug resistant organisms (MDRO’s). Examples of MDRO’s are Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Vancomycin Resistant Enterococcus, Klebsiella pneumoniae Carbapenemase (KPC)-Producing Organisms, Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamase Producing Organisms (ESBL’s) and Clostridium difficile. 
We follow the CDC Guidelines for Management of MDRO’s in the Healthcare Setting. Patients who have an MDRO are placed in Contact Precautions. This means that staff and visitors will wear a gown and gloves when going into the patient’s room and in most cases the patient will have a private room.
In order to prevent surgical site infections, PinnacleHealth follows the CDC Guidelines for the Prevention of Surgical Site Infections and the Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP) Guidelines
Recommendations include:
  • Pre-operative antibiotics are received within the designated time frame before surgery begins. .
  • Pre-operative antibiotics are selected based on the current recommended guidelines. PinnacleHealth System patients received the recommended pre-operative antibiotic 98% of the time.
  • Prophylactic antibiotics are discontinued at the right time.
  • Please visit the Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP) page to see PinnacleHealth's compliance with these measures. 


When visiting our hospital, please consider the following:
  • Refrain from visiting patients if you have any illnesses such as vomiting, diarrhea, cough, fever, flu-like symptoms or any infectious conditions.
  • Clean your hands before and after visiting.
  • Read and follow any instructions posted outside the patient’s room. Special precautions may be taken because of a known or suspected infection. These special precautions may include wearing a mask, or gown and gloves while in the patient’s room.


If you are a patient in our hospital, please be aware that: 
  • You may be placed in special precautions during your stay.
  • You may be tested to see if you are colonized with MRSA. This test is performed by putting a cotton-tipped swab in your nose and rubbing it around then testing the swab for the presence of MRSA.
  • It is important that you take an active role in your health care. Please remind visitors and health care providers to clean their hands when they come and go from your room.
You can refer to the following Patient Education sheets for more information: