Hospital-acquired pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that occurs during a hospital stay. This type of pneumonia can be very severe. Sometimes it can be fatal.
Pneumonia is a common illness. It is caused by many different germs. Pneumonia that starts in the hospital tends to be more serious than other lung infections because:
People in the hospital are often very sick and cannot fight off germs.
The types of germs present in a hospital are often more dangerous and more resistant to treatment than those outside in the community.
Pneumonia occurs more often in people who are using a respirator. This machine helps them breathe.
Hospital-acquired pneumonia can also be spread by health care workers, who can pass germs from their hands or clothes from one person to another. This is why hand-washing, wearing gowns, and using other safety measures is so important in the hospital.