Oral Care Key to Preventing Nosocomial Pneumonia

CARY, Ill. - Brushing patient's teeth and suctioning secretions from the oral cavity may significantly reduce the nosocomial transmission rate of pneumonia among patients on ventilators.

A study, conducted at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill., showed ventilator-associated pneumonia rates dropped to 2.2 per 1,000 ventilator days from 8.7 per 1,000 ventilator days after nurses began using improved oral health methods.

ICU nursing staff at the hospital reviewed literature to determine what oral health needs their patients using ventilators needed. They determined brushing patients' teeth every two to four hours and suctioning oral secretions in the oral cavity and subglottic area were necessary. The selected the Toothette Oral Care Suction System, manufactured by Sage Products, to improve their patients' oral health.

The results showed the nurses helped reduce nosocomial rates and the cost of care for patients being treated at the facility.

The study was published in the Spring/Summer 2002 issue of the Journal of Advocate Health Care.