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Friday, May 2, 2014

Why Is Pneumonia Such a Common Sickness in Nursing Homes?

A family member or caretaker may not realize a loved one was neglected in an Illinois nursing home until after he or she has been transferred out of the nursing home. When your loved one is transferred out of a nursing home to a hospital sit down with the doctor and discuss the status of your loved one’s nursing home care. Frequently nursing home residents are transferred to the hospital for treatment of pneumonia. The unfortunate reality is that pneumonia may be the result of nursing home neglect.

In 2010, pneumonia, combined with influenza, was the 8th leading cause of death in the United Sates, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The Centers for Disease Controls reports 1 out of 20 adults who get pneumonia dies. Addressing the underlying causes of pneumonia in the elderly a serious matter.

Pneumonia is frequently a symptom of inactivity. An injury from a fall or other physical neglect may result in limited or reduced mobility. Virtually every body system is affected by immobility. Immobility can worsen existing medical illnesses and lead to new ones such as circulatory problems including blood clots in the legs, further loss of strength, pressure ulcers, or pneumonia. Immobility as a result of poor nursing care or an injury decreases lung volume and weakens respiratory muscles thus making it easier for pneumonia to develop.

A nursing home must take steps to prevent injury and maximize resident’s physical activity to prevent pneumonia including: 

  • A nursing home should develop and implement a care plan that specifically addresses immobility. Progressive mobility and range-of-motion plans should be included;
  •  A nursing home should take all necessary steps to prevent falls and other mobility limiting injuries;
  • A nursing home should also document range-of-motion exercises and progressive mobility activities in the medical record. They should periodically summarize the results, noting the resident's overall progress and whether the resident is using assistive devices;
  • A nursing home resident should be on bedrest for the least amount of time possible;
  • Nursing home staff should encourage the resident to be as active as possible, whether it's turning over in bed or moving the wheels on his or her own wheelchair.
You may not know if your loved one was immobilized as a result of injury or neglect but you will see the symptoms including pneumonia. If your loved one is diagnosed with pneumonia after being transferred from an Illinois nursing home take action and contact an experienced Chicago nursing home neglect attorney to evaluate your case. 

If you have a question about this post, or any other issue related to Illinois personal injury law, please contact Illinois Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorneys at Keating Law Offices. You can contact Mike Keating directly by calling 312-208-7702 or emailing MKeating@KeatingLegal.com, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All phone calls and emails are returned promptly. All initial consultations are free and confidential.