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Implementing and Evaluating the Impact of a Nurse-Led Oral Care Initiative

Castillo, Dora H. MA, RN, CCRN; Smith, Daniel J. MA; Rosenfeld, Peri PhD

doi: 10.1097/NCQ.0000000000000426
Original Article: PDF Only

Background: Nursing interventions in oral hygiene have been shown to be important for health promotion and illness prevention. This medical center advanced a registered nurse (RN)-led oral health initiative to introduce and standardize oral care practices.

Problem: To examine the impact of the oral health initiative, we conducted an evaluation of documentation trends among RNs and the effect of the initiative on patients’ oral health during hospitalization.

Approach: We used a single-group pretest-posttest design and drew a sample of all inpatients who were admitted to the medical center from October 1 through December 31, 2017.

Outcomes: Of the 13 303 patients admitted, the empirical evidence demonstrates 99.5% compliance in documentation at admission and discharge. Among 13 237 patients, there was improvement in patients’ oral health during hospitalization (−0.03, P < .001), especially those initially assessed with moderate or severe dysfunction.

Conclusions: The oral health initiative standardized assessment and care practices that have improved outcomes in patients’ oral hygiene.

Department of Nursing, NYU Langone Health, New York.

Correspondence: Daniel J. Smith, MA, 545 1st Ave, Greenberg Hall, SC1-152C, New York, NY 10016 (

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citation appears in the printed text and is provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (

Accepted for publication June 5, 2019

Published ahead of print: July 8, 2019

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