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I just want to say that I appreciate all the responses that I have received on previous posts. This is such a wonderful site!

My 83 year old mom who has dementia is being released from a hospital stay of 10 days. She was admitted for pneumonia. She had the same problem in December. The doctor said that the pneumonia was not getting better but she has no fever and her cough is better. She is wheelchair bound.

I've read that pneumonia may reoccur. Anyone out there with any suggestions or advice for me. Not sure what to expect when I take her back home.

Thanks

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My mom would always settle back down to baseline once her infection was treated. She and I both tolerate clindamycin very well and apparently had/have lower risks of getting GI side effects from that. Possibly, using probiotics or yogurt during and after the antibiotic course may reduce risks of getting colitis or c. diff., but studies are not consistent on that. Oral hygiene is supposed to be very helpful in decreasing pneumonia recurrence, though it's not going to be 100%. There is also risk of aspiration from vomiting, which can be worse than with just small amounts while swallowing.
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Went through this with my mom last year. Well, actually her first bout with pneumonia was in October 2012, less than 5 months after I moved her in with me, the hubs, our son, and grandson. She'd been healthy as a horse (other than the dementia) until then. She spent 5 or 6 days in the hospital on IV antibiotics, and she recovered. Then she got it again in early Feb last year, and was in the hospital 5-6 days every month from then until May, the last one being in the ICU for respiratory failure. Her nurses said it's very common, and we should consider whether she would want to be put through perpetual hospital stays and stronger and stronger antibiotics each time, etc. Surprisingly, she did recover from that (she's 81 now), but we signed her up for hospice because it's very stressful for dementia patients in particular to be away from home. Between that and the antibiotics, her cognition suffered noticeably, and she became bowl incontinent as well. She hasn't had a recurrence since (almost a year now). They had tested her over and over again for respirating her food, checked her swallowing, etc., and never found anything amiss. But I found out from a conversation with one of the doctors on rounds that they can respirate bacteria from their mouths (saliva) while they sleep. After hearing that I started making sure she kept her dentures clean and sanitized and that cured her pneumonia. However, we went through months of home oxygen (try keeping oxygen on a dementia patient), the loss of cognition, the countless followup appointments, plus she was just very weak and had to have physical therapy visits at home to gain her strength back. To this day, she can't get in or out of the tub by herself, and she doesn't remember what to do in the shower. So hospice has been a huge help with that. Now we're dealing with cellulitis since Thanksgiving, which tested positive for MRSA. Seems like it's always something since she came to live with us. As much as I love her, I honestly spend many hours sometimes wishing I'd never brought her here. But that's a story for another time.
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The antibiotics can make dementia worse. Most important is to keep the patient hydrated and moving, breathing deeply. If they give you a puffer, take it home and have her use it several times a day. FRESH AIR if you are not in a cold place, will be very helpful. Air out the house.
Moving can include "walking" the wheel chair forward or back with the lower legs, if she can do this, very helpful.
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