Preventing Pneumonia in Nursing Homes

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Has your loved one been diagnosed with pneumonia during their time in a nursing home? Pneumonia is a lung infection that can make patients very sick. Patients who live in nursing homes are at much greater risk for getting pneumonia because they live in close quarters with each other and often the symptoms are not noticed as quickly. Nursing home-acquired pneumonia (NHAP) is important to catch early and treat effectively to protect the health of your loved one.

Pneumonia in nursing home patients can be very dangerous and even life-threatening.  A nursing home must put interventions in place in order to prevent a nursing home patient from developing pneumonia.  The failure to address pneumonia prevention is neglect and the nursing home corporation is negligent in failing to prevent the patient from developing pneumonia or from failing to provide appropriate and timely treatment once the nursing home diagnoses the patient with pneumonia.

NHAP is very dangerous with 30-day mortality rates from 10-30%. Simply living in a nursing home adds 10 points to the severity of the pneumonia, as measured by the pneumonia severity index. Several studies have suggested that infections that happen while the patient is in a nursing home are not fully evaluated before the antibacterial therapy is started. The lack of these workups in nursing homes can be caused by several things: lack of physician evaluation, poor evaluation by nursing home staff, and lack of availability of a laboratory in which to test these infections. This makes the worsening of the pneumonia, regardless of the medication given, the fault of the nursing home.

Learning how to prevent your loved one from acquiring NHAP during their stay in a nursing home is very important. The influenza vaccination is very important for patients to receive because many times pneumonia starts off as the flu. Nursing home patients may catch viruses like the flu from each other, so nurses should distribute Tamiflu, a medication that protects people from the flu, to every patient, regardless of the strain of influenza that is present.

The failure of the nursing home to implement these precautions to protect your loved one from pneumonia can cause injury and even death. We are equipped to help you and would love to sit down with you and discuss your case. Call Nursing Home Injury Attorney Dan Pruitt to discuss your concerns today toll free at 1-866-791-8300.

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