General Question

melaniehill's avatar

Can you get pneumonia if you are forced to lie on your back all night without being able to move?

Asked by melaniehill (26points) November 28th, 2015

Hi, my first question here, I have a history of severe depression which runs in my family and i’ve been recently court ordered to attend a mental clinic (long story) where at night we would be restrained to our beds ‘for our own safety’ something that i find extremely intrusive and have a hard time getting any sleep even with medication. I am also wondering if there can be any health side effects from this due to being on your back and unable to move for hours?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

17 Answers

Cruiser's avatar

I would seriously doubt it. Pneumonia is caused by the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria which will be pretty hard to catch tied to a bed. Welcome to Fluther and I wish you well.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Pneumonia can be caused by many different infections not just by Streptococcus pneumonia. You can also get pneumonia from soon autoimmune diseases or by inhalation of fluid and chemicals (aspiration pneumonia – although this is sometimes called pneumonitis, depending on who you ask). If you are living flat on your back and your swallow reflex is compromised, say by a stroke for example, then it is possible you could develop aspiration pneumonia as saliva trickles down and enters your lungs. However in a healthy individual with an intact swallow reflex this would be highly unlikely.

jca's avatar

Maybe they’ll give you medication to help you sleep. As far as pneumonia goes, if you are up during the day and walking around, hopefully you won’t get aspiration pneumonia. People that are in bed for weeks (for example, the elderly in nursing homes) get aspiration pneumonia because their bodies are not circulating properly and their muscles are weak. Thus, the fluids build up in their lungs, hence aspiration pneumonia.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
jca's avatar

You’re in the US?

marinelife's avatar

I don’t think that would be possible. It sounds a little barbaric. I’m not sure what you did to land yourself in this predicament, but I recommend getting through it and keeping your head down so that you can get back in control of your own life as soon as possible.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

What you are describing is static pneumonia. Static pneumonia is caused by continuous, prone inactivity. This most commonly occurs among elderly, bed-bound patients, or younger bed-bound patients with weakened lungs due to emphysema, etc. The typical case is the post-operative hip replacement when, in the days not so far in the past, when the post-op treatment was to be bed bound for a lengthy period of time. Today, it happens to elderly patients who are bed-bound due to advanced senility and who aren’t properly cared for. There have been many famous people who, in the end of their long lives, entered the hospital after some debilitating infirmity, became bed-bound and soon died of static pneumonia. The first who comes to mind is Jimmy Stewart.

Due to inactivity resulting in shallow aspiration, the lungs eventually fill up with moisture which the patient can’t expire, and the patient drowns.

You are most probably not at risk of static pneumonia because you are not continuously bed-bound. You are given the opportunity to walk, or more, in the daylight hours. This lowers the risk of static pneumonia.

I’m assuming that you’ve been placed on a crisis unit and are restrained at night in order to prevent you harming yourself. This is usually a temporary measure used only until you can be evaluated and deemed not harmful to yourself. You will then probably be put in a dorm-style room with a roommate once the staff feel confident that you are not self-destructive.

All you can do at this point is roll with it. Cooperate and show the staff that, if given the freedom to sleep unrestrained at night, you will not harm yourself or others. Be strong. Create affinity with your staff. Give them no excuse to write a bad evaluation or you can definitely be restrained longer. In many cases this period of restraint is only until certain medications and psychiatric therapies take effect, which can sometimes take around two weeks at the far end. They need you to respond to therapy. When you do so, you will either be released or given a dorm room with a roommate.

Welcome to Fluther, melaniehill.

Jeruba's avatar

That’s very alarming, @Espiritus_Corvus, and I take warning from it. I cannot sleep on my back, cannot. There must be some alternative. If I come to face those conditions as an older person, I hope I’ll know the magic words to say.

@melaniehill‘s story sounds genuine to me, and I wish her an early solution to her situation.

Response moderated
Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@Jeruba The only alternative that I know of is a one-on-one watch. This is the ideal. A trained staff member spends the night in a chair in the room with the patient. This is expensive and requires staff. Most people don’t have the resources to do this properly and few insurance companies will pay for it.

What I described above was an average private facility. In a public facility, the staff often aren’t the best or responsive to their training, often burned out from short staffing, and conditions can be worse, unnecessarily protracted and exacerbated due to neglect and dispassion for the work. The poor get very little proper psychiatric care in the states, at best they are doled medications (that they often neglect because of undesirable side effects) and no real psychiatric counseling. This is reflected in our homeless statistics and in events such as that in Colorado yesterday.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

To clarify: When I use the words “bed bound,” I am describing one who has taken to their beds due to infirmities, not restraints. Today there are pro-active exercises the nurse can perform on the bed bound patient to avoid static pneumonia and death by static pneumonia is no longer considered a natural, unavoidable death.

JLeslie's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus At my hospital checking on suicidal patients was round the clock. They can harm themselves all day long. Sure, there is more activity during the day, but there can still be opportunity.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

^^Yes, that is the standard protocol. But a lot can happen in fifteen minutes. Did you ever see a patient continually bash their heads against a concrete wall? Try to strangle themselves with bed linen or their own gown? Thus, some patients are restrained.

JLeslie's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus Absolutely, a lot can happen in fifteen minutes. I don’t disagree with you.

I’ll add though that people in restraints should be constantly checked and monitored. Once restrained the liability of their well being is truly on the entity restraining them. It’s not like once they are restrained the hospital has less to worry about and less to do.

melaniehill's avatar

Thanks everyone for the answers i feel better about the pneumonia risk based on everyone’s replies. I’m sorry but given the situation I’m not always able to come on here and answer so i make take time. @Espiritus_Corvus you’re right, it is a crisis unit (suicide ward) this has to do with an attempted suicide following a DUI conviction this is why i am on here. This is a public facility where i’ve been put through a court order it is not private and not paid for by any insurance..personally i think i’m stable now and took in the shock of my conviction but the medical staff here don’t seem to think the same – ftr it is my 3rd DUI even though the other two were 8 years ago and i got a sentence that involves jail time which was very overwhelming and i’ve been rushed to hospital after taking a handfull of pills…I hope i answered most questions i was reading in the comments.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I understand completely your inability to hover over this question. Hopefully, you’re getting attention from a therapist while you are there. The important thing is to utilize their resouces in order to get to the root of your depression and the triggers to your lapses. Subdue the understandable anger you may have for the measures taken thus far. Subdue it for now, address it later. Once the staff perceives that you are more interested in solving your problem, they will see this as progress and your conditions will improve. I sincerely wish you a happier life. It’s worth living.

About static pneumonia and breathing properly: Most people don’t breathe properly and their bodies hardly ever get adequately oxygenated. Oxygen in the system improves and enhances, among many other things, chemical reactions throughout the body, most importantly the brain. It improves quick thinking, memory, mood and perspective. A simple, effective exercise a person with a sedentary lifestyle (which you are probably living at the moment) that one can do is to take ten slow, very deep breaths every morning when you awake and again before going to sleep. Initially you my feel energized, but within a short time your system will calm and you will get a better night’s sleep.

If you’re interested in the benefits of breathing, go on line and look for Yoga breathing techniques. Ujjayi is excellent for relief in peak moments of stress we today call meltdowns. It is now being used successfully by some mainstream therapists in cases of severe PTSD. Ten years ago I was on a research team at a VA hospital that introduced this technique into the care plans of young combat veterans that qualified as severe PTSD victims. Empirical evidence, such as stress-and-recovery tests, blood draws for hormones, recorded incidents of acting out—all showed remarkable improvement in a very short time. Ujjaiyi also is used pro-actively to relieve built-up stress, anxiety, and is shown to improve self esteem. I have no idea really how it works and don’t consider it necessary to study 5,000 years of yogic tradition in order to do so. Ujjaiyi expirations can be rather loud, so you may want to let your staff know what you’re up to before you start. They also may be impressed that you are searching for ways to help yourself.

Once you are no longer restrained at night, here is a very effective technique for relief of insomnia which I have often used with great success. I am a lifelong insomniac—I have an extremely active brain which I consider an asset—and I refuse to be medicated for it. Most yoga breathing is simple, effective, natural, and best of all, it’s free.

Good luck melaniehill. Please let us know how things are going. It seems I am not the only one here interested in your situation. This a good community. I’m glad you landed here.

JLeslie's avatar

@melaniehill I’m sorry to hear you’ve been through so much. Do you have a relative you feel comfortable giving full access to your medical records at the facility where you will be staying? If you are 18 years old or older in America, they will not discuss anything about your treatment with someone else, and I always think if you have someone you can trust, give them access. That way you have someone who can help on the “outside” so to speak. I hope they can put you in treatment for dual diagnosis to address everything, to give you more help in your healing.

Most likely you will not be restrained for many nights. Once you get to speak to a therapists and psychiatrist I think they will see you are no longer suicidal at the moment. You rushed yourself to the hospital, that counts for something.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther