Translation of Oral Care Practice Guidelines Into Clinical Practice by Intensive Care Unit Nurses

Authors


  • [Correction added after online publication 12-July 2013. Author affiliations amended.]

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to determine whether there was a change in the oral care practices of intensive care unit (ICU) nurses for ventilated patients after a national effort to increase evidence-based oral care practices.

Design

Descriptive comparison of ICU nurses in 2004–2005 and 2012.

Method

Two convenience national surveys of ICU nurses were collected in 2004–2005 (n = 218) and 2012 (n = 233). After the results of the initial survey were reported, a national effort to increase awareness of evidence-based oral care practices was conducted that included in-service presentations; publication of an evidence-based protocol in a national nursing journal; publication of the survey findings in an international nursing journal; and reports to the local press. A repeat survey was conducted 7 to 8 years later. The same survey instrument was used for both periods of data collection. This questionnaire included questions about demographic and personal characteristics and a checklist of oral care practices. Nurses rated their perceived priority level concerning oral care on a scale from 0 to 100. An evidence-based practice (EBP)[O4] score was computed representing the sum of 14 items related to equipment, solutions, assessments, and techniques associated with the evidence. The EBP score, priority score, and oral care practices were compared between the two samples. A regression model was built based on those variables that were associated with the EBP score in 2012.

Findings

There was a statistically significant increase in the use of EBPs as shown by the EBP score and in the perceived priority level of oral care. Increased EBPs were found in the areas of teeth brushing and oral assessment. Decreases were found in the use of non–evidence-based practices, such as the use of gauze pads, tongue depressors, lemon water, and sodium bicarbonate. No differences were found in the use of chlorhexidine, toothpaste, or the nursing documentation of oral care practices. A multiple regression model was found to be significant with the time of participation (2004–2005 vs. 2012) and priority level of oral care significantly contributing to the regression model.

Conclusions

The national effort was partially successful in improving evidence-based oral care practices; however, increased awareness to EBP also might have come from other sources. Other strategies related to knowledge translation need to be attempted and researched in this clinical setting such as the use of opinion leaders, audits and feedback, small group consensus, provider reminder systems, incentives, clinical information systems, and computer decision support systems.

Clinical Relevance

This national effort to improve EBP did reap some rewards; however, other knowledge translation strategies should be used to further improve clinical practice.

Ancillary