Pneumonia: Influenza Vaccine Given During Flu Season

What is Pneumonia?
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. It affects the lower respiratory tract. This includes small bronchi (airways) and air sacs in the lungs. There are three main causes:

  • Bacterial pneumonia - caused by bacteria, most commonly Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • Viral pneumonia - caused by a virus
  •  Atypical bacterial pneumonia - often called "walking pneumonia," but can cause a more serious or potentially fatal pneumonia
  • Fungal infections, such as infections that are common in people with AIDS

Pneumonias are sometimes described by where it was acquired and how you were exposed to it:

  • Community-acquired pneumonia - cquired in the community (eg, at school, work, gym)
  • Nosocomial pneumonia - acquired during a hospitalization
  • Aspiration pneumonia - happens when a foreign matter (often stomach content) is inhaled

What is Influenza?
The flu (also called influenza) is a viral infection. It affects the respiratory system. It can cause mild to severe illness, and sometimes it can lead to death.

Why is this important?
Flu shots reduce the risk of influenza. Hospitals should check to make sure that pneumonia patients, particularly those who are age 50 or older, get a flu shot during flu season to protect them from another lung infection and to help prevent the spread of influenza.

Since a flu shot is effective for just one flu season, the period of time used to calculate this rate is the flu season (from approximately October through March), in contrast to other measures, which are generally collected throughout the year.

How are we doing at providing the best care for patients who may have pneumonia?
Patients who are eligible to receive the influenza vaccination during the months of October – March are given the vaccination.

Performance Measures Influenza Vaccine Given During Flu Season

This graph shows the percent of time patients who are eligible to receive the influenza vaccination during the months of October – March at Hartford Hospital. Higher percentages are better. Top performing hospitals provide this to 100% of the eligible patients.

What efforts are in place to improve performance?
A high focus is placed on this measure and all cases are reviewed with team members to assure compliance.