Care Transitions - Pneumonia Post Discharge Care

Jul 02, 2012

As we have said before, one of the most critical success factors in preventing hospital readmissions for any of the four conditions is to review and understand any instructions provided the hospital at the time of discharge.  This includes a review of new and existing prescription medications.

Additionally, family caregivers should consider the following:

  • Place your loved one in an upright position to facilitate lung expansion and improve aeration.  If bedridden, turn frequently.
  • Encourage and assist ambulating as tolerated.
  • Rinse the loved one’s mouth frequently with water to minimize the contamination of the body systems with normal germs in the mouth.
  • Encourage loved one to cough to clear secretions and improve ability to breathe.
  • Increase fluid intake unless otherwise instructed, to thin mucus and promote expectoration, and to replace fluid losses due to fever and dehydration.
  • Keep mobile, as tolerated, to improve secretion clearance and to reduce the risk of worsening pneumonia.
  • Encourage breathing exercises to help with clearing the lungs and to promote full lung expansion.
  • Encourage loved one to get proper amount of rest and to maintain a good, healthy diet.  One episode of pneumonia may make your loved one more susceptible to recurring infections.
  • Avoid contact with people who have upper respiratory infections for several months after pneumonia is resolved.
  • Emphasize frequent handwashing, particularly when guests are visiting

Remember, these are general tips for non-medical caregivers.  If there is any question about care for a recovering pneumonia patient, refer to the hospital discharge instructions or ask a family physician!