Whenever a patient in a care home gets ill, no matter what the cause or severity, they should be put on a structured care plan to help ensure that all the right steps are taken to monitor and try to get them on the right track to getting better. Chest infection care plans are essential because something as simple as a chest infection can cause a lot of problems in older people.
Symptoms of a Chest Infection
Some common symptoms of a chest infection include;
- Persistent cough
- Coughing up yellow or green phlegm
- Breathlessness or shallow breathing
- Rapid heart rate
- Chest pains or tightness
- Feeling confused or disorientated
Someone with a chest infection will usually also experience general symptoms of an infection, such as;
- Loss of appetite
- Joint or muscle pain
When You Should Be Worried About a Chest Infection
Chest infections can be bad enough at the worst of times but can be especially bad in elderly people over the age of 65 or people with underlying respiratory issues – such as asthma. Symptoms that are worrying include;
- Severe symptoms
- Symptoms not improving
- Feeling confused, disorientated and drowsy
- Chest pain and difficulty breathing
- Coughing up blood or blood in phlegm
- Blue tint to skin or lips (cyanosis)
- People who are overweight and having difficulties breathing
- Someone with a weakened immune system or long term health condition.
Chest Infection Care Plan
If someone in your care is experiencing a chest infection, then it’s essential to have them under continuous assessment, this commonly comes in the form of a chest infection care plan.
- Respiratory rate
- Assess arterial blood gas (ABG) levels, includes; noting the pH, PaCO2, HCO3, PaO2 and base levels
- Check breathing for any abnormalities
Continual assessment helps keep track of the patient’s condition and help identify if they need any
Why It’s Important to Use a Chest Infection Care Plan for the Elderly
A chest infection care plan is crucial when it comes to the elderly because people over the age of 65 are at a higher risk of developing complications associated with a chest infection. Chest infections can lead to more serious pneumonia, which is a lung infection, which can either be bacterial or viral. This can cause the air sacs in your lungs to fill with pus, which can lead to them going completely solid. Pneumonia can be a life threating condition for even healthy people, so for someone elderly to get is – especially if they have underlying health issues can be extremely worrying.