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Keywords

Adult, Chlorhexidine, Efficacy, Intensive care unit, Oral care, Prevention, Ventilator-associated pneumonia

 

Authors

  1. Zuckerman, Lisa M. MSN, RN

Abstract

Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) describes pneumonia in patients requiring mechanical ventilation that was not present prior to intubation. Ventilator-associated pneumonia concurrently increases patient mortality, hospital length of stay, and health care costs. Ventilator-associated pneumonia also contributes to patient morbidity, which is challenging the progression of patient care in intensive care units throughout the United States. Through critique of current literature, suitable interventions for intensive care unit implementation to prevent VAP are clearly identified. Oral health was shown in this literature to greatly contribute to the development or prevention of VAP; it can be compromised by critical illness and mechanical ventilation while being influenced by nursing care. Oral health is managed by proper oral care using oral chlorhexidine in order to decrease oral bacteria and potential oropharynx colonization. The previously mentioned literature review demonstrates a decrease in VAP rates with the use of such oral interventions as chlorhexidine. These research results will support and influence patient care practices considering nursing and medicine are driven by evidence rather than experience to prevent avoidable patient harm.