All Posts Tagged: Pneumonia

Berniece Nadeau

After suffering respiratory failure due to COVID-19, Berniece came to NCLTAH for ventilator weaning.

Berniece Nadeau, 62, lives in Fort Morgan, Colorado with her husband and their two chihuahuas. She and her husband love spending time with their two children and four grandchildren. In her free time, she likes walking her dogs and camping in the beautiful mountains of Colorado. 

One day Berniece started experiencing symptoms including fever, chills, and respiratory issues. Her brother came over that day to visit and found her on the floor. He immediately called an ambulance and she was rushed to the hospital. There she was diagnosed with COVID-19, pneumonia, and acute hypoxemic respiratory failure.

Unable to make the decision herself, Berniece’s family stepped in and chose to transfer her to Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital. Two of her family members were previous patients and knew NCLTAH would take good care of her. Sadie, Berniece’s daughter stated, “We chose the facility due to the success rate and how great we know it is! I also love that it has all the levels of care we need to get her home.”

While working through her recovery at NCLTAH, Berniece stated, “I really enjoy the two physicians, Dr. Pearson and Dr. Masotti. They are very competent and knowledgeable.” With their support, she was able to progress enough to be transferred to Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital.

Berniece started the inpatient therapy program with NCRH and was confident in the staff’s ability to get her back to better. “There are so many great PCT’s and nurses that were so encouraging and wonderful! The respiratory therapists were great and very knowledgeable. The staff kept me very motivated and were always so positive. The housekeeping staff and kitchen staff were amazing! They would always go out of their way to help me. I loved that they would all go the extra mile! Overall, it was a great experience!”

After nearly two months at NCLTAH and NCRH, Berniece discharged home, excited to return to her husband and her dogs. She will continue her recovery with outpatient therapy at NCRH. As an outpatient, Berniece will work on building her strength and endurance with physical and occupational therapy.

Berniece has specific goals as she continues to recover.  Before her hospitalization, Berniece was walking her dogs all the time. Her ultimate goal is to walk them again without needing an assistive device. She would also like to start volunteering with foster children in the future.

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Understand Your Risk: COPD and Pneumonia

November is COPD Awareness Month, and it focuses on a disease that’s the third-leading cause of death in the United States. It’s also a disease that more people suffer from than ever before – while many others have it and don’t know it.

Fortunately, COPD and pneumonia are manageable with the right health care approach. Moreover, identifying who’s most at risk for developing COPD is clearly important, as is educating family members and caregivers about the disease and its effects.

What is COPD?

COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a lung condition that affects a person’s ability to breathe. Many serious and life-threatening complications can arise from COPD, including pneumonia.

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a lung infection that actually describes some 30 types of infections. It’s dangerous because it reduces the amount of oxygen in the body – sometimes greatly – and can be caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, or inhaled particles or liquids. For COPD patients, life-threatening complications can develop rapidly and be fatal if not treated. People who suffer from COPD and other lung conditions are at a greater risk of developing pneumonia.

How is Pneumonia Treated?

If your physician suspects that you may be suffering from pneumonia, he or she may order a chest X-ray, CT scan, blood tests, and other tests to determine the cause of the infection. If it’s due to a bacterial infection, antibiotics will likely be your first treatment. It’s important to not only take antibiotics as directed but to take all of them. Halting your antibiotics can allow the bacteria to come back stronger than ever.

Viral pneumonia will likely require antiviral medications, and your doctor may prescribe an inhaler or oral steroid.

No matter the type of pneumonia, treatment must be immediate to prevent permanent damage to the lungs. Treatment may even include a stay in an intensive care unit, and a ventilator will speed oxygen to depleted cells, as well as eliminate excess carbon dioxide.

Who’s Most at Risk?

Smoking is the main risk for COPD and many people who smoke or used to smoke suffer from COPD. Other risk factors include:

  • Age. Most people who have COPD are at least 40 years old when they first notice symptoms.
  • Long-term exposure to lung irritants such as secondhand smoke, chemical fumes and dust from the workplace or environment, and air pollution.
  • Family history. People who have a family history of COPD are more likely to develop the disease, particularly if they smoke.

What are Symptoms?

The signs of COPD and pneumonia can include:

  • Shortness of breath that doesn’t improve but gets worse.
  • A chronic cough. In the case of pneumonia, you may cough up a dark yellow or green mucus.
  • Congestion that lasts for more than a few days.
  • Fever, chills, and ongoing fatigue.

At first, COPD may cause only mild symptoms, but symptoms grow worse over time. And severe COPD can cause other symptoms, such as a fast heartbeat, swelling of the feet, ankles, and legs, and weight loss.

The Importance of Prevention

If you suffer from COPD, it’s crucial that you do everything you can to prevent pneumonia. The easiest thing you can do is get an annual pneumonia vaccine. Getting a yearly flu shot is also important, because illnesses like the flu can easily lead to pneumonia in people with COPD. And keeping yourself as physically healthy as possible through diet and exercise is another important preventive measure.

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