Pneumonia And Aging
Nursing Home Residents Care
What Is Pneumonia?
By definition, Pneumonia is a disease of the lungs in which whole segments of the lungs (either one side or both), usually starting in the lower lobes, become inflamed. The lungs - which resemble spongy, air-filled sacs - can no longer perform their job of taking in oxygen and disposing of waste gasses. Pneumonia almost always is the result of an invasion of the lung tissues by bacteria, viruses, or even fungi.
Once attacked, the lung tissue has an inflammatory response. The affected part swells with extra blood and body fluids in order to resist invading organisms. This wet lung tissue overloads the system, causing breathing difficulties.
Elderly At Risk of Aspiration Pneumonia
Besides viral, bacterial, or a fungal lung infection, there is a type of pneumonia called aspiration pneumonia. This condition is a caused by food essentially backing up into the lungs, causing an inflammation or infection. Elderly nursing home residents with swallowing problems, those who are on tube feedings, or those who have had pneumonia or esophagitis in the past are especially at risk.
Pneumonia often presents itself in a subtle way in the elderly. Pneumonia may come on without chills, with only a low-grade fever that quickly causes dehydration. Remember that many elderly nursing home residents are not properly hydrated or nourished. According to statistics, Pneumonia is the fourth leading cause of death in the elderly.
Elderly nursing home residents should be immunized against influenza and pneumococcus because they are especially susceptible to respiratory tract infections such as influenza and pneumonia. Geriatric people in group-living situations, such as a nursing home, or those living in homes with school aged kids, are more likely to be exposed to respiratory pathogens. Elderly nursing home residents with cardiac diseases, dementia, or chronic pulmonary diseases also are at greater risk for infections.
Treatment For Pneumonia
After blood tests and other appropriate testing reveal the organism that is causing the problems, patients typically are given powerful antibiotics along with oxygen and respiratory therapy to treat their pneumonia.
Commitment to the Health of Elderly Nursing Home Residents
Nursing home lawyer Jeffrey H. Rasansky is committed to improving the health and well being of nursing home residents. While pneumonia sometimes occurs in elderly nursing home residents, the nursing home is responsible for proper care of patients suffering from pneumonia. If you feel your loved one has suffered neglect, negligence or abandonment by the nursing home staff, contact an experienced nursing home lawyer at the Law Offices of Jeff Rasansky. We can help.
Jeff Rasansky is licensed to practice before all state courts in Texas, the United States District Courts in the Northern and Eastern Districts of Texas and the Fifth United States Circuit Court of Appeals.