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Hospital Acquired Pneumonia


Hospital acquired pneumonia (HAP) is a lung infection that you get while you are in the hospital. HAP occurs 48 hours or more after being admitted to the hospital. Your lungs become swollen and cannot work well. HAP is usually caused by bacteria. It can become life-threatening.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

A pulse oximeter

is a device that measures the amount of oxygen in your blood. A cord with a clip or sticky strip is placed on your finger, ear, or toe. The other end of the cord is hooked to a machine.


is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.


may help you breathe more easily and get better faster. Ask healthcare providers to help you sit up or get out of bed. You may need to breathe deeply and cough. Deep breathing helps to open the air passages in your lungs. Coughing helps to bring up mucus from your lungs. Deep breathing and coughing can help prevent HAP from getting worse.


  • Antibiotics help fight a bacterial infection.
  • Bronchodilators help open the air passages in your lungs, and help you breathe more easily.
  • Expectorants help thin your sputum (mucus from the lungs). When sputum is thin, it may be easier for you to cough it up and spit it out. This may make your breathing easier, and may help you get better faster.
  • Immunomodulatory medicine may help your immune system work better. It may also prevent your immune system from attacking your own body. Your healthcare provider may give you this medicine to prevent or treat sepsis (widespread infection in the body).
  • Steroids help reduce swelling in your airway.


  • An x-ray or CT scan may show infection, and how well your lungs are working. They may also show other problems, such as fluid around your lungs. You may be given contrast liquid to help your lungs show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid.
  • Blood and urine tests can help healthcare providers learn more about your bacterial pneumonia.
  • A sputum sample may be tested for the germ that is causing your illness. It can help your healthcare provider choose the best medicine to treat the infection.
  • Bronchoscopy is a procedure to look inside your airway and find the cause of your pneumonia. A bronchoscope (thin tube with a light) is inserted into your mouth and moved down your throat to your airway. You may be given medicine to numb your throat and help you relax during the procedure. Tissue and fluid may be collected from your airway or lungs . It will be sent to the lab and tested for infection.


  • Deep breathing and coughing helps open the deeper airways in your lungs. Coughing helps to bring up mucus from your lungs.
  • Breathing treatments help open your airways so you can breathe easier. A machine is used to change liquid medicine into a mist. You will breathe the mist into your lungs through tubing and a mouthpiece. Inhaled mist medicines act quickly on your airways and lungs to relieve your symptoms.
  • A thoracentesis is a procedure used to remove extra fluid that is between your lung and chest wall. You are given numbing medicine, and then a needle is put between 2 of your ribs. The extra fluid is pulled out through the needle and sent to the lab for tests. These tests will help your healthcare provider plan your treatment. You may find it easier to breathe when the fluid is removed.
  • You may need extra oxygen if your blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. You may get oxygen through a mask placed over your nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in your nostrils. Ask your healthcare provider before you take off the mask or oxygen tubing.
  • A ventilator is a machine that gives you oxygen and breathes for you when you cannot breathe well on your own. An endotracheal (ET) tube is put into your mouth or nose and attached to the ventilator. You may need a trach if an ET tube cannot be placed. A trach is a tube put through an incision and into your windpipe.


You may have breathing problems, or the infection can spread to other areas of your body. Pus or extra fluid may collect in the space around your lungs, or your lungs may get damaged. You may not get enough oxygen if your lungs are swollen or filled with fluid. Low oxygen can cause damage to other body organs, such as your kidneys, heart, and brain. HAP can become life-threatening.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.