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Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Home-Acquired Pneumonia

Nursing home-acquired pneumonia (NHAP) is one of the leading causes of death in long-term care facilities in the United States. The disease tends to be severe in residents over 65 years of age due to weakening immunity. Pneumonia primarily infects the lower respiratory tract and can result from fungal, bacterial, or viral action. The gravity can range from mild and unproblematic to serious and life-threatening. 

If your loved one has developed pneumonia at a long-term care facility, you may be able to file a claim for compensation. Reach out to our dedicated lawyers at Dalli & Marino, LLP today and we can help make sure your rights are accurately represented.  

What Is Nursing Home-Acquired Pneumonia?

Although the source of pneumonia can be a fungal, viral, or bacterial infection, the mechanism of infection is what is more critical in cases of NHAP. The three ways in which your loved one can develop pneumonia are:

  1. Nursing home-acquired pneumonia
  2. Community-acquired pneumonia
  3. Nosocomial pneumonia

The first two are quite similar in operation. However, the most common cause of NHAP is S. pneumoniae. Always note the cause of the infection, as it often determines the severity. 

The most widespread form of NHAP caused by S. pneumoniae is typically mild and can be easily treated. That said, the more acute forms of NHAP, which require hospitalization, are because of S. aureus infection. The serious infections result in hospitalization and mechanical ventilation, while carrying a 1.5% mortality rate

Signs Your Loved One May Have Contracted NHAP

Pneumonia manifests itself quite subtly in older adults. Although physical manifestations such as fever, chills, and chest pain are common, older adults are unlikely to complain about them. Therefore, the nursing care facility must keep tabs on the residents’ overall health to ensure they catch the signs early.

NHAP is an infection that culminates in fluid filling the lung’s air sacs, causing inflammation. When this occurs, your loved one may have multiple symptoms, some of which can be dangerous if no action is taken to get to the root of the problem. These include:

  • A persistent cough, sometimes with phlegm
  • High fever accompanied by sweating and shaking chills with low body temperature
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Chest pain and difficulty breathing, or shortness of breath
  • Mental clouding

If the nursing staff do not take quick action to address the root cause, it can be a deadly oversight on their part. When this happens, you have every right to seek justice for the nursing facility’s failure to do its job. 

What Should a Nursing Home Do to Prevent NHAP?

Many ways exist in which nursing homes can stop their residents from contracting NHAP. The most obvious is good hygiene, both in the common and private areas of the nursing facilities. Other conditions present in the nursing facility predispose patients to develop NHAP. These include:

  • Difficulty swallowing, also known as dysphagia
  • Chronic conditions like asthma, respiratory allergies, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • Use of ventilators or feeding tubes

The above conditions can form a breeding ground for the bacteria, fungi, or viruses that cause NHAP. Therefore, the nursing staff should ensure excellent hygiene for the implements used to support residents’ lives, along with constant monitoring in case one develops symptoms of the infection. In the case of a suspected infection, the nursing home must carry out tests on the patient to determine whether they have developed NHAP.

How to Treat NHAP

Once a physician has confirmed a diagnosis, treatment should start immediately. For bacterial pneumonia, a round of antibiotics is necessary to effectively defeat the infection. In case pneumonia is from a viral infection, however, then close observation, fluids, and plenty of rest are the only remedies, as viral pneumonia generally heals on its own. 

In case of illness or even the death of your loved one due to NHAP, you have a right to seek legal relief. If your loved one suffered due to the neglect and ignorance of the nursing home, then you can file a suit against the facility in a court of law. A delay in diagnosing or treating a resident can lead to their death, which is enough grounds for filing a wrongful death lawsuit

Contact The Experienced NYC Nursing Home-Acquired Pneumonia Lawyers at Dalli & Marino, LLP Today

If you require a nursing home-acquired pneumonia lawyer, you can reach out to us at Dalli & Marino, LLP. We’ll help you present your case before a court of law and get justice due to you. Working with us means you benefit from our decades of experience handling medical malpractice and nursing home abuse cases. Our lawyers also speak Spanish.  

We’ll assist you to get to the bottom of what happened to your loved one and relieve the financial and psychological burden the nursing facility put you through. To learn more, complete our online contact form or call (888) 465-8790.

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