Pneumonia is a common infection among residents of long-term-care facilities (LTCFs), with an incidence of 1.2 episodes per 1,000 patient-days. This rate is believed to be six- to tenfold higher than the rate of pneumonia among elderly individuals living in the community. The risk factors for pneumonia among residents of LTCFs are profound disability, bedridden state, urinary incontinence, difficulty swallowing, malnutrition, tube feedings, contractures, and use of benzodiazepines and anticholinergic medications. An elevated respiratory rate is often an early clue to pneumonia in this group of patients. Staphylococcus aureus (including methicillin-resistant S. aureus) and aerobic gram-negative bacilli (including multidrug-resistant isolates) are more frequent causes of pneumonia in this setting than in the community. Criteria have been developed that help identify patients for treatment in their LTCFs.
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