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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Graduate Nursing

First Advisor

Lori Hendrickx


pneumonia, nosocomial infections, respirators, respiratory therapy, mouth care and hygiene


Ventilator acquired pneumonia (VAP) is a nosocomial infection that is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the critical care environment. Procedures and protocols are being researched in order to reduce the risk associated with this nosocomial infection for patients who require mechanical ventilation. The use of oral care hygiene equipment such as toothbrushes, along with staff education, has been shown to reduce the incidence of VAP. This study was conducted on a 39 bed critical care unit in a Midwestern Level 2 Trauma Center. Patients included in the study met the requirements of mechanical ventilation for 24 hours without ta diagnosis of pneumonia and were 18 years of age or older. The investigator educated critical care staff regarding risk factors and cause of ventilator acquired pneumonia. The staff also received hands on training by the investigator concerning proper oral hygiene and techniques for mechanically ventilated patients. The hospital's infection control officer monitored the incidence of ventilator acquired pneumonia and compared the VAP rate for the study period with the rate from the previous year. A clinically significant reduction of ventilator acquired pneumonia was shown after the education and hands on training of the staff by the investigator. As a result, the critical care unit has updated the policy and standard operating procedure (SOP) for the oral care of mechanically ventilated patients. This study showed the benefits of oral care on mechanically ventilated patients in reducing the incidence of VAP leading to better patient outcomes and hospital stay cost reduction.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Nosocomial infections
Respirators (Medical equipment)
Respiratory therapy -- Complications
Mouth -- Care and hygiene


Includes bibliographical references (page 36-39)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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