The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2010 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

RESPIRATORY THERAPIST ROLE IN MOUTH CARE AS AN EFFORT TO COMBAT VENTILATOR ASSOCIATED RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS.

Rhonda M. Schum, Abby Motz, Jenni L. Raake; CICU, CCHMC, Cincinnati, OH

Background: Healthcare providers have become increasingly conscious that patients are at risk of developing Ventilator Associated Respiratory Infections (VARI). Evidence has shown routine mouth care can help prevent VARI, and mouth care is part of our ventilator care bundle. Mouth care education is not routinely taught as part of the respiratory therapistsÂ’ (RTs) college curriculum. Consequently, we provided education to RTs in our ICUs. Education consisted of elevating the head of the bead and oropharyngeal suctioning prior to mouth care, followed by cleansing the mouth. Six-months after education, we surveyed the RTs to determine if education had improved their comfort and compliance with mouth care policies. Method: RTs in the Pediatric and Cardiac Critical Care Units were surveyed regarding their comfort and self-reported practice when performing mouth care. Results: Response rate was 50.8% (n=30). 72% of the respondents reported that they perform mouth care 2-3 times per shift. Level of comfort in providing mouth care utilizing a Likert Scale reflected 93 % of the respondents reported themselves as competent. 40 % of respondents reported raising the head-of-bed prior to mouth care. Oropharyngeal suctioning was performed prior to mouth care by 73.3% of respondents. Conclusion: RTs at our institution report feeling competent in performing mouth care. Greater compliance is needed with raising the head-of-the-bed and performing oropharyngeal suctioning prior to cleansing the mouth. Benefits to educating RTs include: increased collaboration with nursing staff, taking an active role in efforts to reduce the incidence of VARI, insuring mechanically ventilated patients receive frequent mouth care, and expansion of skills for RTs. Sponsored Research - None