Preventing Pneumonia Readmissions

by Valerie VanBooven RN BSN

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an inflammation and infection in the lungs usually caused by viruses and bacteria.  Alveoli, which are microscopic air sacs in the lungs that absorb oxygen, become inflamed and are filled with fluid, causing various symptoms such as a cough with phlegm, fever, chills, body aches, and shortness of breath.

Symptoms can vary in intensity from mild to severe.  Factors such as age, health, and the type of germs associated with pneumonia will contribute to the seriousness of the sickness.

Those at high risk include:

  •  Infants and children
  • Men and women age 65 or older.
  • Those suffering from health issues, such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), heart disease, emphysema, HIV/AIDS, or diabetes.

Why do seniors get admitted to the hospital when they have pneumonia?

It is not necessary for everyone who has pneumonia to seek hospital care, although certain signs indicate that one should seek medical care as soon as possible. Seniors especially are at risk of developing complications, so it is advised that anyone age 65 or older or those on oxygen, visit a medical professional if you believe you have pneumonia.

Furthermore, if you experience the following symptoms, seek medical attention immediately:

  • Confusion
  • Rapid breathing
  • A sudden drop in blood pressure
  • Those that are on oxygen or respiratory therapy

Read More About Treating Pneumonia

What happens after discharge from the hospital?

How Can Home Care Keep Patients from Readmitting to the Hospital After Pneumonia?