UPMC believes that effective communication between health care providers and patients is the basis of good health care. But patients with disabilities often face barriers in being understood.

To help our staff better communicate with patients living with disabilities, UPMC formed the Disabilities Resource Center (DRC). The DRC provides education and a group of tools to help us communicate more effectively with our patients based on their disabilities. You can order these tools through the UPMC intranet.

Never Miss a Beat!

Get Healthy Tips Sent to Your Phone!

Message and data rates may apply. Text STOP to opt out and HELP for help. Go to https://pages.upmc.com/terms for privacy and terms.

Communications Tools

Some helpful tools you can access through the DRC include:

For patients who are deaf or hard of hearing:

  • Communication boards with health care-related icons to convey messages.
  • Door knockers to flash a lighted signal when a person is about to enter the room.
  • Personal amplifiers to enhance spoken communication.
  • Effective communication iPads that run disability specific apps.
  • Clear mask to assist with effective communication.

For patients with low vision:

  • Handheld magnifiers to enlarge documents.
  • Signature guides to help sign on the line.
  • Bold-lined paper and high-contrast pen for patient notetaking.
  • Bump Dots to provide a tactile identification of items.

The DRC makes these resources available to each department or office to help ensure effective communication with patients. The DRC also provides training sessions for staff to learn how to communicate effectively with patients with disabilities.

Staff also can access the DRC’s Disability Ring of Knowledge app to guide them to UPMC resources that best support patients, visitors, and guests who live with disabilities.

Compliance Champions

To effectively support UPMC’s outreach efforts to patients living with disabilities, each UPMC hospital and business unit has a Disability Champion and Section 504 Disability Coordinator.

This person helps ensure that each location supports the rights granted under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act to prevent discrimination on the basis of disability.

The staff at the DRC can help you with future health care visits. If you are scheduling a visit or stay at UPMC, contact the DRC to learn about taking part in the Let UPMC Help You program. Through this patient care coordination program, the DRC can assist in arranging for a variety of disability related accommodations. For more information or to request complex disability accommodations, contact the Disabilities Resource Center at DRC@UPMC.edu or 412-605-1483.

About UPMC

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, UPMC is a world-renowned health care provider and insurer. We operate 40 hospitals and 700 doctors’ offices and outpatient centers, with locations in central and western Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, and internationally. We employ 4,900 physicians, and we are leaders in clinical care, groundbreaking research, and treatment breakthroughs. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside as one of the nation’s best hospitals in many specialties and ranks UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on its Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals.