Preventing Pneumonia Elderly after a Scapular Fracture

by Conni
(Denmark)

My 87 year-old father recently fractured his scapula when he fell in the middle of the night. He has very poor balance, and can't walk without a walker. His pain medication causes him to sleep a lot. How can we prevent a possible onset of pneumonia due to lack of motion?


REPLY from Caring-for-Aging-Parents.com:
Thanks for the question, Conni. This question is similar to the question submitted by Kathy. Take a look to get some general ideas of how pneumonia elderly is treated, Kathy's Q&A about pneumonia elderly.

For your father, a few things come to mind:

  • Is he safe if someone walks with him?

    • if so, is there a family member that might be able to walk with him every hour during the day?
    • can he have home care for the elderly to help with this?

  • Has he has a review of his medication by both his doctor and pharmacist?

  • Does he have a bedside commode seat?

    • considering his poor mobility and likely drowsiness due to medications, he may benefit from a commode seat at his bedside.


Your father may also benefit from an elderly day care program that has some rehabilitation focus on exercise and mobility.

Some tips to prevent pneumonia elderly are:

  • avoiding smoking and alcohol.
  • reducing hospital admissions.
  • good dental hygiene including visits to the dental hygienist for cleaning. If this is not possible, some hygienists will come to the home or nursing homes.
  • good nutrition. For more information, Eldelry Nutrition.
  • eating in an upright position and ensuring food is swallowed well. Adjust the diet to an easier to eat diet if this is not happening (pureed or add lots of sauces/gravy).

Falls prevention and elderly safety are important for being proactive to prevent falls or injury. I'm glad that you have identified the issues for your father and are wondering about solutions.

If you're worried about more falls, you might ask your father if he would consider wearing hip protectors (though I know they won't protect his scapula).

A broken hip can be very serious - and even fatal - in the elderly. Hip protectors are known to reduce the risk of breaking a hip. They come in many different styles (even built into easy to pull up jogging pants).

If you'd like to review other suggestions on fall prevention in the elderly or elderly safety, see the following pages:


Thank you for this question, if any other readers have suggestions, please comment by clicking below.

Thank you,
Tennille

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