Hospital-acquired pneumonia is one of the most pressing risks facing elderly adults who spend time in the hospital or treatment center. The frequency of this infection comes second only to urinary tract infections, and is the leading cause of death due to hospital-acquired infection. In order to be considered hospital-acquired pneumonia, your aging parent must not have any sign of pneumonia upon admission to the hospital, and must acquire the infection at least 48 to 72 hours after admission. Developing this infection while in the hospital can be extremely dangerous for your aging parent. Not only are they dealing with the consequences and complications that can come along with whatever health issue they are facing when admitted to the hospital, but they now must also a combat the dangers of pneumonia. As a family caregiver, it is extremely important for you to take steps to protect your aging parent from all risks, including their potential for developing hospital-acquired infections. This can protect their health, and help them to avoid the average extra week to two weeks seniors spend hospitalized should they acquire this infection.
Some ways you can reduce your risk for hospital-acquired pneumonia include:
- Ensure everyone washes their hands or uses hand sanitizer before coming into contact with your aging parent
- Limit physical contact between others and your senior as much as possible
- Discourage your parent from touching surfaces in the hospital, and if they do come into contact with a surface, make sure they use hand sanitizer
- Keep your parent as far away from others in the emergency room waiting area as possible, and ask if there is a more secluded place for those with weakened immune systems
- Encourage your parent to wear a medical mask while in the hospital
- Take steps to reduce the risk of hospital readmission for your senior. This means going back to the hospital within 30 days of their initial discharge, and it can be detrimental to their health because of repeat exposure to germs
One of the biggest risk factors for hospital readmissions among elderly adults does not actually have to do with physical health or challenges. Instead, elderly adults who are lonely or isolated, or who are suffering from mental and emotional challenges, are far more likely to return to the hospital after discharge. Having elder care as a part of their daily care routine can help to reduce this risk for your parent. The companionship and mental and emotional support your senior can receive from an elderly home care services provider can help them at to feel more supported, less lonely, and better prepared to manage their condition. Services such as medication reminders, assistance with meal preparation, physical support, and more can help your parent to recover properly, and feel less compelled to return to the hospital for further care.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Mercerville, NJ, please call the caring staff at Care Street Home Care. You can reach our Mercer/Burlington Division at (609) 496-5666.
Dr. Shelly, as he is fondly known, has served as an Alzheimer’s Support Group Facilitator in Mercer County and is a Certified Dementia Instructor. Knowledgeable, compassionate, and unusually devoted, his guidance is crucial in helping families understand their options and render decisions for their loved ones’ care plan. Dr. Shelly’s extensive experience, sincere and pleasant demeanor, and professional affiliations have made him a vital asset to Care Street.