Hospital-acquired pneumonia commonly develops after 48 hours of hospitalization and can be divided into non–ventilator-acquired and ventilator-acquired pneumonia. Prevention of non–ventilator-acquired pneumonia requires a multimodal approach. Implementation of oral care bundles can reduce the incidence of ventilator-acquired pneumonia, but the literature on oral care in other populations is limited.

Clinical Relevance

Use of noninvasive ventilation is increasing owing to positive outcomes. The incidence of non–ventilator-acquired pneumonia is higher in patients receiving noninvasive ventilation than in the general hospitalized population but remains lower than that of ventilator-acquired pneumonia. Non–ventilator-acquired pneumonia increases mortality risk and hospital length of stay.


To familiarize nurses with the evidence regarding oral care in critically ill patients requiring noninvasive ventilation.

Content Covered

No standard of oral care exists for patients requiring noninvasive ventilation owing to variation in study findings, definitions, and methods. Oral care decreases the risk of hospital-acquired pneumonia and improves comfort. Nurses perform oral care less often for nonintubated patients, as it is perceived as primarily a comfort measure. The potential risks of oral care for patients receiving noninvasive ventilation have not been explored. Further research is warranted before this practice can be fully implemented.


Oral care is a common preventive measure for non–ventilator-acquired pneumonia and may improve comfort. Adherence to oral care is lower for patients not receiving mechanical ventilation. Further research is needed to identify a standard of care for oral hygiene for patients receiving noninvasive ventilation and assess the risk of adverse events.

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