Disease Management

In-Home Treatment for Pneumonia

Allegiance Home Health and Rehab wants you to breathe easy, pun intended. Pneumonia is a secondary infection that can be triggered by a variety of bacteria, viruses, or fungi. What starts out as a rattled cough can cause lung damage and even death. In fact, pneumonia is a factor in 4 million deaths a year and is the eighth leading cause of death in the United States. Additionally, pneumonia can exasperate other conditions and cause permanent lung damage.

About Pneumonia

About 50% of pneumonia cases are caused by a specific bacterium for which there is a vaccination. Allegiance Home Health recommends that you get vaccinations for pneumonia and influenza regularly.

Because there are many causes, you can still get pneumonia anytime, however it’s most likely to occur after a cold or having the flu.   One or both of your lungs may become infected when bacteria, viruses or fungi find a way to enter the lungs.  This is more likely to occur when:

  • Your immune system is weak.
  • A bacteria, virus, or fungi is very strong.
  • Your body fails to filter the germs out of the air that you breathe.

When the germs that cause pneumonia reach your lungs, the lungs air sac (alveoli) become inflamed and fill up with fluid and pus.  This causes the symptoms of pneumonia, such as a cough that produces colored sputum (mucus), fever, feeling very tired or weak, chills, and trouble breathing.  Older senior adults may not have fever or a cough that produces sputum (mucus).  Senior adults main sign may be that they are confused.   

When you have pneumonia, oxygen has trouble reaching your blood.  If there is too little oxygen in your body, your body cells cannot work properly.  Because of this and the infection spreading through the body, pneumonia can cause death.  Most people can be treated with antibiotics and usually recover within two weeks.

Some people are more likely to get pneumonia.  The people who are more likely to get pneumonia are those recovering from surgery, those who smoke cigarettes and those that have chronic conditions such as asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and people with weakened immune systems. 

Difficulty swallowing due to stroke, Parkinson’s’ disease, dementia or any other neurological conditions can place you at higher risk for pneumonia.  Aspiration pneumonia which occurs when foreign materials (usually food, liquids, vomit or saliva) are inhaled into the lungs or airways leading to the lungs.

The Allegiance Difference

Treatment at home typically begins with antibiotics. Additionally, our specially trained home health nurses can create a personalized plan of care to aid you in a speedy recovery of your illness.  Our skilled nurses will assess your breathing and lung status on every visit. They will monitor your vital signs.  The nurses will instruct you on signs and symptoms of complications and when to notify your M.D.   

Increase fluid intake and good nutrition are important to your recovery. Our nurses will give you guidelines to speed your recovery and prevent further problems. The nurses will teach you breathing exercises to expand your lungs and help you practice deep coughing to cleanse lungs of the infection.  Equipment such as nebulizers may be used to deliver moist air and medication directly to the lungs. Your nurses will teach you how to prep and use your equipment.

Pneumonia is treated with a variety of medications such as antibiotics and medicine to expand airways.  Our staff will instruct you and your family in a manner that is easily understood on your medication regimen. You will learn proper dosage, frequency, side effects and interactions of medications and when to report changes to physician. 

Our Physical therapists will work on improving your endurance and strength.  They will instruct you on importance of gradual resumption of your Activities of Daily Living and instruct on importance of frequent rest periods. 

Let us Help

If you or loved one is in the hospital especially if they are elderly, it can make a huge difference in having someone either family members or one of our caring home health aides to be present 24 hours a day, to make sure they are doing well and to quickly to notify staff if they need care.

If you or loved ones are home our team of skilled professionals can get you on the road to a speedy recovery.  Our skilled professionals’ results speak for themselves. 

Allegiance Home Health & Rehab has been recognized as being one of the top 25 percent of home health agencies nationwide by Home Care Elite in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.  This award recognizes the top agencies based on outcomes of care received by their patients.   

Using a private duty home health aide can be an important factor in your recovery.   They can prepare nutritious meals and ensure you get adequate fluid intake to aid in a speedy recovery. Gradually increasing activity tempered by frequent periods of rest make sure your loved one heals completely and quickly as possible.

Let Allegiance Home Health help you back on your feet and breathing easy. Contact us if you or a loved one is hospitalized or being treated at home for pneumonia.