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Three Ways Home Health Can Improve Recovery From Pneumonia

Home health care services can be beneficial during pneumonia recovery, particularly for individuals that need additional medical care or help with routine daily activities.

Pneumonia is the 2nd highest contributor to senior hospitalizations in the United States. This disease—-which can be caused by a wide variety of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and chemical irritants—affects seniors at a higher rate, and is more common among individuals with COPD and other chronic respiratory illness. As we age, susceptibility to pneumonia increases, along with the likelihood of it becoming very serious or even fatal (up to 20% of cases can result in death). 

Although the average senior admitted to the hospital with pneumonia stays for around 5 days, the recovery process typically takes much longer—often weeks or months for full recovery due to the damage that occurs to the lungs. As people get older or develop other serious health issues, the time it takes to recover from pneumonia is further prolonged. For individuals with chronic respiratory conditions or COPD, pneumonia poses a significant risk.

To ensure the best outcomes and a speedy recovery, it is important to have the right care plan in place before arriving back home. With the right tools and support in place, those recovering from pneumonia are more likely to avoid rehospitalization—which typically impacts 1 in 4 —and more quickly return to good health and daily activities. 

Due to the severity of damage to the lungs that occurs during pneumonia, resuming normal routines is often difficult. Common tasks that may have been easy before, become exhausting to complete. Additionally, any decline in a patient’s condition while they’re at home can complicate their healthy recovery, demanding close monitoring and supervision from skilled care staff. 

For these reasons, home health care services can be beneficial during pneumonia recovery, particularly for individuals that need additional medical care or help with routine daily activities. Here are a few questions to help determine if home health may be right for you or a loved one: 

  • Do you or your loved one need help taking medications properly?
  • Is assistance needed to complete typical daily activities?
  • Has the pneumonia recovery period progressed slower than expected?

If you or your loved one responded “yes” to any of the above questions, home health care may benefit your pneumonia recovery experience. 

Three Ways Home Health Can Help with Pneumonia Recovery 

1. Adherence to prescribed medications and therapies

Individuals recovering from pneumonia often require antibiotics to treat their condition, in addition to other prescribed medications. Home health nurses ensure that medications are taken at the correct dosage and frequency and can educate you or your loved one on the importance of sticking to a prescribed regimen. 

2. Regular monitoring for changes in health conditions

To ensure a smooth recovery, home health nurses monitor their patients’ oxygen levels and other vital signs. If anything being monitored doesn’t indicate a steady recovery, or if another health event occurs, home health staff can quickly get in touch with a patient’s primary care team or a nurse practitioner. This is particularly important for those who may also have underlying chronic health conditions like COPD or other chronic respiratory conditions that may complicate recovery. By carefully monitoring patients, additional medical care can be prescribed before conditions worsen. A referral to Constellation’s Respiratory Care or the specialized pulmonary program (available in Massachusetts only) can help if pneumonia recovery is taking longer than expected.

3. Providing supportive care and services during the transition back to daily life

In addition to medical care and medication management, individuals in recovery may need help navigating their daily lives while getting back into their routines. Home health services provide an added layer of support in the transition back to better health. Home health assists individuals with completing routine daily activities, such as ensuring they follow a nutritious diet or can maintain good personal hygiene, and connects patients to non-medical care (personal caregivers, social services, transportation services). Home health benefits may also include ​​working with physical and/or occupational therapists to increase aerobic capacity for activities of daily living and educate individuals on important energy conservation and recovery techniques. 

Pneumonia is a serious health condition. Safe and speedy home recovery is as important as the care you or a loved one will receive in the hospital. If you believe you would benefit from home health care as part of your pneumonia recovery journey, Constellation has experts waiting to answer your questions and connect you with the right services and support.

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Constellation Health Services is an award-winning, value-based home health care agency serving the Northeast. At Constellation, our goal is to provide a comprehensive stay-at-home health solution for your patients that includes a team of trained professionals, a suite of technology services, and coordination of in-home diagnostic and delivery services. We help partners achieve an average savings of 10% by avoiding rehospitalization penalties and reducing nursing home utilization and length-of-stay. Learn more.

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