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Critical Care Nursing Quarterly:
doi: 10.1097/CNQ.0b013e318204809b
Infection Prevention and Critical Care: Original Article

Pursuing Excellence: Development of an Oral Hygiene Protocol for Mechanically Ventilated Patients

Browne, Jennifer A. RN, MSN, CCRN; Evans, Diana RN, MSN, CCRN; Christmas, Lauren A. LVN, SN; Rodriguez, Maria RN, BSN

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Abstract

Oral hygiene in seriously ill patients is a nursing responsibility. Oral hygiene regimens in conjunction with standardized ventilator-associated pneumonia “bundles” reduce the incidence of pneumonia, length of stay, and associated costs in critical care. Following strict adherence to the recommended ventilator-associated pneumonia bundle, the ventilator-associated pneumonia rate at the Northeast Baptist Hospital intensive care units has remained 0% for 36 months. Oral care in this patient population, however, has remained vague based on ritual and nurse preference. This article describes the development of an oral care protocol based on best evidence, providing a rationale for standardization of oral hygiene and the plan for surveillance and updating.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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