Hospitalist Questions Pneumonia

How long do people stay in the hospital for pneumonia?

My mother has been in the hospital for at least week with pneumonia, and it seems like she's getting better. But the hospital insists on keeping her because of her age. She's almost 80 years old. How long is the average hospital stay for someone with pneumonia at her age?

2 Answers

Normally unless the patient has significant respiratory distress they are not hospitalized for pneumonia. Your mother may need to be transferred to a rehab facility to improve her strength before she is discharged home.
There are a lot of factors that physicians have to consider when taking care of elderly patients in the hospital. Infections like pneumonia can be quite serious, and pneumonia is a common cause of death in the elderly. When an elderly patient is admitted to the hospital, some of the main things we need to consider when planing for discharge include:
Oxygen needs- does the patient need supplemental oxygen, were they on supplemental oxygen before being admitted to the hospital
Antibiotics- is the patient requiring IV antibiotics that need to be monitored in the hospital, or are they on oral antibiotics that can easily be taken at home.
Other medical conditions- did this infection subsequently effect other medical issues, and are those issues under good control
Functionality- hospitalizations of the elderly often cause them to get weaker, less mobile, decreased endurance, etc. Is the patient strong enough to go home and take care of themselves.
Most hospitals will have a discharge planner or a social worker that helps coordinate patient discharge, and I would encourage you to talk to this person to get additional details of how your mother is doing and what the plan is for getting her home.
Thank you