Pneumonia

Community acquired pneumonia is a major contributor to illness and mortality in the United States, causing 4 million episodes of illness and nearly one million hospital admissions each year.

Scientific evidence indicates that the following measures represent the best practices for the treatment of community-acquired pneumonia.

Patients who have community acquired pneumonia should get:
  • Time to treat with antibiotics
  • Influenza and pneumococcal vaccines
  • Advice to quit smoking

Time to treat with antibiotics

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Patients admitted with the diagnosis of community acquired pneumonia (inflammation of the lungs caused by an infection) should receive their initial dose of antibiotic medications as soon as possible, preferably within 6 hours of the time they arrived to the hospital.

Why is this important?

Antibiotics are used to treat adults with pneumonia caused by bacteria. Early treatment with antibiotics can cure bacterial pneumonia and reduce the possibility of complications. Patients who get pneumonia during their stay at the hospital are not counted in this measure.


Pneumococcal Vaccination

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Pneumonia inpatients age 65 and older who were screened for pneumococcal vaccine status and were administered the vaccine prior to discharge, if indicated.

Why is this important?

The pneumococcal vaccine may help you prevent, or lower the risk of complications of pneumonia caused by bacteria. It may also help you prevent future infections. Patients with pneumonia should be asked if they have been vaccinated recently for pneumonia and if not, should be given the vaccine.


Influenza Vaccination

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No data for 2Q 10 and 3Q 10. No patients were eligible for this measure in these quarters. Valid for only six months out of the year.

When patients have pneumonia they are more vulnerable to getting other infections, such as influenza (flu). Pneumonia patients age 50 years and older, hospitalized during flu season (October through February) should be given the flu vaccine during their hospital stay.

Why is this Important?

Flu shots reduce the risk of influenza, a serious and sometimes deadly lung infection that can spread quickly in a community or facility. Hospitals should check to make sure that pneumonia patients, particularly those who are age 50 or older, get a flu shot during flu season to protect them from another lung infection and to help prevent the spread of influenza.

Smoking cessation advice/counseling

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Giving advice about quitting smoking is important for community acquired pneumonia patients who are smokers or have stopped smoking within the past year.

Why is this important?

Smoking damages your lungs and can make it hard to breath. Smoking increases your chances of getting pneumonia or other chronic lung diseases like emphysema and bronchitis. Smoking is also linked to lung cancer, heart disease, stroke and can cause premature death. It is important for you to get information to help you quit smoking before you leave the hospital. Quitting may reduce your chance of getting pneumonia again.

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