Pneumonia in the Elderly

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What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection that causes inflammation of the air sacs of one or both of the lungs, which may fill up with fluid or pus, causing symptoms including cough, fever, chills and trouble breathing.

It is caused by a variety of organisms including bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

Home Care Great Neck NY - Pneumonia in the Elderly

Home Care Great Neck NY – Pneumonia in the Elderly

Who is most at risk?

Adults that are over the age of 65 are most at risk of developing pneumonia, as well as people with underlying health problems or weakened immune systems, such as people receiving chemotherapy or taking certain medications that can suppress their immunity.

Pneumonia can quickly become a life-threatening condition in elderly people with conditions such as heart failure or other chronic lung issues. It is important for caregivers of seniors receiving home care to watch for signs in elderly people who have any of these risk factors.

How is it treated?

The way pneumonia is treated varies depending on the type of pneumonia it is, its severity, and what germ caused the infection. The most common type pf pneumonia which is community-acquired, is usually treated at home. If your loved one has home care providers, they can help with the treatment and symptom management.

Bacterial pneumonia is treated with the use of antibiotic medicines prescribed by your senior’s health care practitioner but can usually be administered at home by your seniors caregivers. They should start to make a patient feel better after one to three days.

Viral pneumonia, another type, isn’t treated with antibiotics but your senior’s doctor may prescribe antiviral medications for treatment. This type takes longer to improve the bacterial pneumonia and improvement can take one to three weeks.

The goal of treatment for pneumonia is to cure the infection and also to prevent any complications.

What are the complications?

Septic shock is a potentially fatal condition that can be caused by bacteremia which happens when bacteria from the initial place of infection spread into the blood.

Pleural effusions are the build up of fluid in between the pleura, which is a membrane that consists of two thin, large layers of tissue. This fluid can become infected, and the two layers of the pleura can become irritated and inflamed, causing sharp pain when a person breathes in. This may require having the fluid drained through a chest tube or removed via surgical intervention.

Lung obsesses are a complication that can sometimes be treated with the use of antibiotics but also may require surgery or drainage to remove the pus.

Both respiratory failure and renal failure are also potential complications of pneumonia.

If your senior parent or loved one has pneumonia, make sure their home care providers follow their treatment plan at home, help them to take all of their medicines as prescribed, and get follow-up medical care to be sure that they are healing properly.


If you or an aging loved one are in need of Home Care Services in Great Neck NY or the surrounding areas, contact the caring professionals at Star Multi Care Services today at (631)956-8835. We are the Right Choice for Home Health Care Services!
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About the author: Stephen Sternbach
Stephen Sternbach has been the Chairman of the Board of Directors, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Star Multi Care Services since 1987. After the sale of the New York and New Jersey operations of Star Multi Care Services, Sternbach brought the company private where he remains President and CEO of this newly developed $22M home healthcare company. With Sternbach at the helm, Star Multi Care Services employs more than 550 employees, in six offices throughout Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York. From 1978 to 1986, Sternbach was associated with Automated Data Processing, Inc. (“ADP”)–a provider of information services, where he held several marketing positions before becoming the Director of Sales. 1999-2008 Sternbach was an active participant on the Board of Directors for Proginet–a computer software company based in Garden City, New York. He also served on the Board of Trustees of the Long Island Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society from 1996-2002. In 1996, Stephen Sternbach was named “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Ernst & Young, Paine Webber and NASDAQ. Sternbach was also named in Crain’s New York Business Article, “40 Under 40” Successful Business Executives/Future Business Leaders in 1995. While maintaining a diversity of business and personal interests, Sternbach concentrated most of his efforts over the past 28 years towards continuously improving the quality of services delivered by the Star Multi Care Services’ family of companies. Stephen Sternbach holds a Master of Public Administration from Syracuse University – Maxwell School of Public Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Industrial Relations and Personnel Administration from Ithaca College.