Implementation and Dissemination of a Department of Veterans Affairs Oral Care Initiative to Prevent Hospital-Acquired Pneumonia Among Nonventilated Patients

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Implementation and dissemination of an oral care initiative enhanced the safety and well-being of Veterans at the Salem VA Medical Center by reducing the risk of non–ventilator-associated hospital-acquired pneumonia (NV-HAP). The incidence rate of non–ventilator-associated hospital-acquired pneumonia decreased from 105 cases to 8.3 cases per 1000 patient-days (by 92%) in the initial VA pilot, yielding an estimated cost avoidance of $2.84 million and 13 lives saved in 19 months postimplementation. The team was successful in translating this research into a meaningful quality improvement intervention in 8 VA hospitals (in North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia) that has promoted effective and consistent delivery of oral care across hospital service lines and systems, improved the health of Veterans, and driven down health care costs associated with this largely preventable illness. The steps needed for successful replication and dissemination of this nurse-led, evidence-based practice are summarized in this article.

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