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UHS Quality & Patient Safety

Quality Counts – A commitment to our patients and our community

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When you are choosing health care services, you want to know that your health care will be high quality. At UHS at all of our New York facilities, that is our goal, too. 

At UHS, we have a clear guiding principle: everyone who works within the organization is part of the medical team, and the patient is at the center of the care we provide. It may sound like a rather obvious position for a health care provider to take, but this golden rule is a constant reminder to everyone at UHS that every action we take must reflect this priority.

Quality counts when it comes to how we provide care.  It is reflected in how we interact with our patients, how our medical professionals act together as a team to take care of our patients and how we respond overall to the healthcare needs in the communities we serve.

As an organization focused on quality, New York UHS tracks specific quality and patient safety measures and compares them to our own performance goals. We constantly strive to maintain and improve the care we offer to our patients as we work to maintain and improve the health of residents in our local communities. We continue to monitor and improve.

UHS Culture of Safety

A partnership between our patients and our staff

In order for UHS to provide you with the highest quality healthcare we all must work together.  This means that our medical professionals must work together, and that you have a role as well.  When our patients play an active, involved role in their health care, they achieve the best outcomes.  When you ask questions and understand your health status, diagnosis and treatment plan, you can help the health care team achieve the kind of good communication that is vital to protect your safety. 

See the following suggestions for working with your health care team to achieve a safe, positive patient care experience at UHS.  These suggestions apply mostly to the inpatient experience, but some may apply equally to outpatient visits.

Quality Management Process

UHS has an internal Quality Management process throughout the organization to ensure that we are always putting patients first.  The process is collaborative and systematic.  It focuses on supporting our promise to the people we serve that we will listen, we will show respect and we will give hope. 

Our Quality Management program is a comprehensive, multi-dimensional approach to assessing and improving the quality of care and services provided at each organization.  It is developed, implemented and maintained to guide our Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement (QAPI) activities.  The program uses evidence-based clinical practices to achieve a culture of “best practices,” ensuring patients optimal, appropriate care in the safest environment.

In addition, we continuously survey our patients to determine their satisfaction with the care we provide and to learn how we can improve to serve them even better.

Patient Safety Initiatives

Fall Prevention

Here at UHS, we are committed to keeping our patients safe. Our organization has created an interdisciplinary falls management team that designs and implements fall reduction strategies. We are continuously assessing fall and injury risk, monitoring the facility’s fall data, and conducting reactive analyses of falls. 

Fall Tip Sheets displayed in patient rooms increase communication to the patient and care team to ensure everyone is aware of the patient’s fall risks and expected interventions.

Staff education is essential to the success of a healthcare facility's falls prevention program. That's why UHS has implemented standardized education for all clinical and support staff.

The ABC’s of Fall Prevention

Our organization has adopted the ABC's of Fall Prevention:

  • A - Belongings within Arm's Reach
  • B - Bed Alarm/Positioning for Moderate/High Fall Fisk Patients 
  • C - Call Escalation for Patients Calling to go to the Bathroom 

We have also implemented post fall huddles to identify and remove the factors that contributed to the fall thus decreasing the risk of repeat falls. To enhance teamwork and our culture of safety; management, front line staff and patients participate in the huddles to adjust the patient’s individualized fall prevention plan in real time.  Involving the patient is critical when create a successful fall prevention strategy.

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Minimizing Infections

Your nurses, doctors and other healthcare providers - as well as family members and visitors- should wash their hands before they touch you.  Feel free to remind them.

Ask family members and friends who have a cold, the flu, or symptoms of an infection (such as fever, rash, cough, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea) not to visit. 

Isolation precautions are to protect you, other patients, staff and visitors.  Gloves, gowns and masks are worn sometimes, depending on the illness.  If you don’t understand why you are on precautions, please ask.  Remind your visitors that they, too, must follow the precautions listed on the sign outside your room to protect you and them during their visit.

Please get flu and pneumonia vaccines when they are offered.

Patient Medication Safety

Unfortunately, medication errors happen. They happen in hospitals, in pharmacies, and even at home. The more information you have, the better able you are to prevent errors and take care of yourself. Find out all you can about your conditions and the medication(s) you are taking — including over-the-counter medications. What you learn will help protect you.

Your doctors, nurses and pharmacists work hard to keep you healthy, but you are also responsible. Learn what questions to ask. Expect answers...it’s your life and your health!

Remember...medication error prevention is a shared responsibility.

Following are suggestions about how you can help prevent medication errors if you are hospitalized. 

  • When you come to the hospital, bring a list of the medications, nutritional supplements, vitamins, over-the-counter medications and herbal medications you are taking at home.
  • If you bring your medications to the hospital, send them home with your family once the nursing staff has seen them. While you are in the hospital, you may not need the same medications.
  • Tell your doctor you want to know the names of the medications you will be receiving while in the hospital and the reason you are taking them. That way, if anyone tells you anything different, you’ll know to ask questions, which might prevent an error.
  • Look at all medications before you take them. If it doesn’t look like what you usually take, ask why.
  • Do not let anyone give you medications without checking your name band. This helps prevent you from getting someone else’s medications.
  • Remind your nurse and doctor if you have allergies.
  • When you get ready to go home, have the doctor or nurse go over each medication with you and a family member.


Other Safety Tips
  • Dentures, hearing aids and glasses are the most commonly lost items in hospitals.  Please make sure they are not left on food trays or in bed linens.  Remember where you put them.
  • Make sure you know how to use your nurse call button and where others are located.
  • Your doctor or nurse should approve all food from home and restaurants.
  • No one but staff should touch medical equipment.
  • Ask staff to explain what the equipment does, and what the alarms mean.  Call your nurse if an alarm sounds. 

Patient Identification

When you are admitted, you will have a patient identification bracelet placed on your wrist.  This bracelet includes your name and medical record number.  Remind all caregivers to look at your identification bracelet before giving medication, drawing blood or performing a procedure.  Please do not remove this bracelet.

Staff Identification

All hospital employees are required to wear photo identification badges.  Be sure all your caregivers have a hospital ID with their picture on it.


One of the most important things you can do is to speak up and ask questions, especially if you are unclear, unsure or confused.  Feel free to ask who people are, what they are doing and where you are going.

You might want to ask a family member or friend to help you ask questions and understand what doctors, nurses and others say to you.  Pay attention to your tests, treatments and medications.  Speak up if something does not seem right to you. If you have questions or concerns about your care or safety, speak to your nurse or doctor. 

When you are ready to go home, make sure you are clear about your written discharge instructions, including medicines and need for a follow-up visit.  Don’t worry if you need to ask someone to repeat the instructions.  Be certain you are given a phone number to call if you have questions after you go home.  

We believe that involved and informed patients make better choices about their health care and are better able to participate in their own care. Research shows that patients who take part in decisions about their healthcare have better outcomes – and that is our goal, optimal health outcomes for our patients.

We suggest that you use this section of our web site, Quality Counts, as just one resource when you make health care decisions.  Your health care provider is a valuable resource as well.

Quality Counts demonstrates UHS’

  • Commitment to quality and protecting patient safety
  • Focus on helping you choose top quality health care
  • Dedication to accountability and ongoing improvement