Caring for Pneumonia Patients Properly: Guidelines

by Johnny Jacks

Pneumonia is one of the common respiratory diseases. Patients with pneumonia need to be properly cared for in order to recover quickly. Let’s learn some basic information about pneumonia and how to care for pneumonia patients through the following article!

What is pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection in the lungs, where the lung tissue becomes inflamed and consolidated by various agents such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, foreign objects, chemicals, etc. These agents cause the lungs to produce fluid, which obstructs the tiny air sacs in the lungs, resulting in reduced oxygen exchange.

Pneumonia is the leading cause of death among common infectious diseases.

Clinical classification divides pneumonia into 2 groups:

Community-acquired pneumonia: pneumonia that occurs outside the hospital, often in the elderly and children under 5 years old.

Pneumonia patients must be treated in the hospital

Pneumonia patients must be treated in the hospital.

Hospital-acquired pneumonia: pneumonia that appears 48 hours after admission to the hospital.

2. Risk factors for pneumonia

2.1 Transmission route

People inhaling disease-causing agents from the outside environment or from the throat and stomach entering the airways.

Patients undergoing treatment through endotracheal intubation, mechanical ventilation, gastric tube insertion for fluid suction, or food transfer.

2.2 Conditions that facilitate the initiation of risk factors

Respiratory system with increased production of mucus.

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Patients lying unconscious for too long.

Elderly people, immunocompromised children.

People with ear, nose, and throat diseases or chronic respiratory diseases.

Due to changes in weather, low temperature and humid air.

Living and working environment is polluted.

People who smoke regularly weaken their respiratory system.

3 Symptoms of Pneumonia

3.1 Typical pneumonia symptoms

Sudden high fever, productive cough with yellow or green mucus and foul odor.

Chest pain when taking deep breaths.

Presence of pulmonary consolidation.

3.2 Atypical pneumonia symptoms

Slow onset of the disease.

Patients experience headache, fatigue, sore throat, muscle pain, etc.

Feeling of nausea and vomiting.

May experience diarrhea.

Caring for patients with pneumonia

Caring for patients with pneumonia.

4 Patient care procedures for pneumonia

4.1 Patient observation and monitoring

4.1.1 General condition

Observe the patient’s physical and mental status, including fatigue, loss of appetite, etc.

Check for signs of infection such as dry lips, stiff tongue, sunken eyes, etc.

Monitor body temperature: fever of 39-40 degrees Celsius.

4.1.2 Respiratory status

Shortness of breath and cyanosis may appear after a few hours. The severity can vary depending on the extent of the disease.

In children, the respiratory rate (R) is calculated based on age.

Under 2 months of age: R>=60 breaths/minute. From 2 to 12 months of age: R>=50 breaths/minute. From 12 months to 5 years of age: R>=40 breaths/minute. Signs of respiratory distress: chest retractions, flaring nostrils, cyanosis, etc.

Note the amount and characteristics of cough and phlegm.

Chest pain at the affected area, aggravated by inhaling or coughing.

4.1.3 Circulatory and digestive systems

Circulatory system: normal or increased heart rate and blood pressure, may develop shock.

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Digestive system: may have nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation, diarrhea.

4.2.2 Relieve chest pain

Position the patient in a comfortable position.

Use antibiotics, antipyretics, and analgesics according to the prescribing physician’s instructions.

Monitor the patient’s medication use.

Monitor treatment response, and if there are any drug allergies or complications, address them immediately.

4.2.3 Patient rest to maintain energy

Encourage the patient to rest in bed to conserve energy.

Change positions frequently to ensure the patient’s comfort.

Maintain a quiet environment to allow the patient to rest and sleep well.

Encourage gentle exercise.

If sedatives are prescribed, monitor and evaluate the patient’s health before and after use.

4.2.4 Nutrition supplementation, water and electrolyte balance maintenance

Ensure the patient’s diet provides enough energy, including soft and easily digestible foods and plenty of fruits.

Encourage the patient to drink warm water (2-3 liters per day) to moisturize the throat area.

If indicated, provide fluid therapy for the patient.

4.2.5 Treatment regimen

Use medications at the correct dose and time prescribed by the treating physician.

Monitor and care for the patient’s health.

Take blood tests when indicated.

Perform sputum suction and oxygen therapy when necessary.

Prepare for shock prevention due to medication.

Monitor for unusual symptoms and detect complications early.

Pneumonia is very dangerous

Pneumonia is very dangerous.

4.2.6 Hygiene and rest

Clean the patient’s teeth, mouth, and throat after coughing up sputum into covered containers that must be washed regularly.

Clean the whole body daily, paying attention to areas prone to pressure sores from prolonged bed rest.

Clean the patient’s room daily.

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Prevent bacterial transmission by increasing air circulation in the room. If possible, have the patient wear a mask when in contact with healthcare workers and others. Healthcare workers should also wear masks when examining patients.

4.2.7 Health education

Provide guidance and explanation to patients and their families about the treatment plan, duration of treatment, and the importance of adhering to it.

Encourage patients to engage in light exercise as their condition improves.

Encourage patients to practice deep breathing, coughing, lung expansion, and lung cleansing exercises. Advise patients to schedule a follow-up appointment 4-6 weeks after discharge.

Explain the harmful effects of tobacco and alcohol and advise patients to avoid their use.

Instruct patients on how to avoid exhaustion and sudden temperature changes.

Ensure that patients eat in a clean environment, maintain a nutritious diet, rest frequently, and avoid stimulating factors.

Promptly treat any infections that arise.

Advise patients to receive a flu vaccine.

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