Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that can cause mild to severe illness in people of all ages. These infections can often be prevented with vaccines and can usually be treated with antibiotics. Antiviral drugs and other specific drug therapies may also have a role. You can help prevent pneumonia and other respiratory infections by following good hygiene practices, such as washing your hands regularly and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces. You are more likely to become ill with pneumonia if you smoke or have underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease (Centers for Disease Control, 2014).
VAP is one of the most serious complications for the most critically ill and vulnerable patients and can be avoided in the hospital by using proven strategies (IHI, 2012).
Claire inspires change after her passing
Claire, the nine year old daughter of an ICU nurse, died in March of 2008, after 16 days in the same intensive care, following surgery to repair a malformation in her skull. After surgery, Claire was placed in a deep sleep and on a ventilator. She eventually succumbed to complications, including pneumonia. Her mother risked everything to fight in Claire's memory. A review of Claire's care found that ventilator management was below accepted standards. It also revealed Claire's death was precipitated by an abrupt rise in carbon dioxide caused, most commonly, by a blocked endotracheal tube. The review deemed Claire's death as preventable.