Nurse-administered oral hygiene is considered to be an important intervention in acutely ill hospitalized patients who cannot provide their own oral care. Oral care provides patients’ comfort, reduces dental plaque and mucosal inflammation, and promotes oral health. The prevalence of hospital-acquired infection is a significant concern in acutely and critically ill patients; in combination with other strategies, oral hygiene can contribute to the prevention of ventilator- associated pneumonia (VAP) in intubated patients.
Ensure that your unit has written practice documents such as a policy, procedure, or standard of care that describes the oral care procedure.
Include oral application of chlorhexidine gluconate (0.12%) twice a day in standard order sets for patients receiving mechanical ventilation.
Audit documentation of oral care, including frequency and differentiating among application of chlorhexidine gluconate (0.12%), comprehensive oral care (including toothbrushing), and oral comfort care (oral cavity moisturizing).