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chest infections

topsy1

Registered User
Apr 22, 2014
18
Ireland
Has anyone had the experience of their relative getting recurrent chest infections? My 90 year old mother with Alzheimers has had several bad chest infections over the last year, the last 2 landed her in hospital, coughing and difficulty breathing. An x-ray confirmed that she had pneumonia, which they tell me is another name for an infection of the lungs. She recovered ok with I.V antibiotics, oxygen and fluids, but I am wondering if this is a progressive thing, does the immune system deteriorate along with everything else as the person ages? Her swallow is ok, she feeds herself in the Nursing Home on slightly soft foods, in hospital they play it safe and give her pureed foods.
 

LadyA

Registered User
Oct 19, 2009
13,563
Ireland
My husband used to get recurrent chest infections. He had always been prone to them, but as his dementia advanced, and his physical health failed with it, he did get them more often.
As dementia advances, one of the things that is often affected is the swallowing reflex, and as the person loses the ability to swallow effectively, they can either choke on food/liquids or silently aspirate tiny particles - i. e. it ends up in the lungs rather than the stomach. And so the person gets pneumonia - and frequently on a death certificate, you would see as the primary cause of death "aspiration pneumonia " and Alzheimer's disease as a secondary cause. That's what's on my husband's Death Certificate.

I think the hospital are right at this stage to be giving your mum a pureed diet, and I imagine they are thickening her drinks too? Has she been seen by a member of the SALT team, to assess her swallowing ability?
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
12,171
South coast
Mum has been getting recurrent chest infections and UTIs. So far she has had 6 courses of antibiotics (2 in hospital) this year plus treatment for oral thrush.
I do think that as the dementia progresses (mum is now in late stage) the immune response weakens and they become more prone to infections
 

topsy1

Registered User
Apr 22, 2014
18
Ireland
thank you

My husband used to get recurrent chest infections. He had always been prone to them, but as his dementia advanced, and his physical health failed with it, he did get them more often.
As dementia advances, one of the things that is often affected is the swallowing reflex, and as the person loses the ability to swallow effectively, they can either choke on food/liquids or silently aspirate tiny particles - i. e. it ends up in the lungs rather than the stomach. And so the person gets pneumonia - and frequently on a death certificate, you would see as the primary cause of death "aspiration pneumonia " and Alzheimer's disease as a secondary cause. That's what's on my husband's Death Certificate.

I think the hospital are right at this stage to be giving your mum a pureed diet, and I imagine they are thickening her drinks too? Has she been seen by a member of the SALT team, to assess her swallowing ability?
Thank you for your quick reply, LadyA. It's useful to hear someone's experience.
 

topsy1

Registered User
Apr 22, 2014
18
Ireland
forgot to mention

My husband used to get recurrent chest infections. He had always been prone to them, but as his dementia advanced, and his physical health failed with it, he did get them more often.
As dementia advances, one of the things that is often affected is the swallowing reflex, and as the person loses the ability to swallow effectively, they can either choke on food/liquids or silently aspirate tiny particles - i. e. it ends up in the lungs rather than the stomach. And so the person gets pneumonia - and frequently on a death certificate, you would see as the primary cause of death "aspiration pneumonia " and Alzheimer's disease as a secondary cause. That's what's on my husband's Death Certificate.

I think the hospital are right at this stage to be giving your mum a pureed diet, and I imagine they are thickening her drinks too? Has she been seen by a member of the SALT team, to assess her swallowing ability?
forgot to say yes she has been assessed for her swallow.
 

Gwendy1

Registered User
Feb 9, 2016
414
Glasgow
Hi,my dad is on puréed diet and thickened fluids... He still gets regular chest infections, unfortunately. It appears to be connected with his poor swallowing- Im told it can also be caused by him aspirating his own saliva. Or just by living in the 'community' of his care home...I think the frailer people are, the more they catch bugs. No answer, really. It's very hard. Xx


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Dustycat

Registered User
Jul 14, 2014
215
North East
My Dad is in late stages and has had recurrent chest infections, I UTI and oral thrush. Good to know that others are experiencing similar. X
 

Anney63

Registered User
Oct 5, 2016
22
Has anyone had the experience of their relative getting recurrent chest infections? My 90 year old mother with Alzheimers has had several bad chest infections over the last year, the last 2 landed her in hospital, coughing and difficulty breathing. An x-ray confirmed that she had pneumonia, which they tell me is another name for an infection of the lungs. She recovered ok with I.V antibiotics, oxygen and fluids, but I am wondering if this is a progressive thing, does the immune system deteriorate along with everything else as the person ages? Her swallow is ok, she feeds herself in the Nursing Home on slightly soft foods, in hospital they play it safe and give her pureed foods.
Visited my MIL today she had a UTI a couple of weeks .Now has a chest infection She’s very frail and hadn’t been eating very well. I fed her some mash potatoes and vegetables but she couldn’t manage the chicken casserole which was very tender. She just asked to go back to bed after lunch she was exhausted from coughing . Is it worth the staff getting her out of bed it’s such a struggle getting her in and out . Heartbreaking to see her hands were so cold but she said she was warm . How long can this go on it’s breaking my heart to see her like it at 97 .