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  1. Browne, Jennifer A. RN, MSN, CCRN
  2. Evans, Diana RN, MSN, CCRN
  3. Christmas, Lauren A. LVN, SN
  4. Rodriguez, Maria RN, BSN


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.