We Get Support From:
Become a Supporter 
 We Get Support From:
Become a Supporter 

Study: Oral Hygiene Can Save Patients' Lives

Anderson Mancini / Flickr

Anderson Mancini / Flickr

Nurses at private hospitals, Veterans Affairs and a university teamed up to look at the rates of hospital-acquired pneumonia in patients who aren’t on ventilators.

Sacramento State University’s Dian Baker says those cases are not widely reported.

“Hospitals weren’t going to be paid if patients on ventilators got pneumonia," she says. "Meanwhile, the other patients that weren’t on the ventilators were also getting pneumonia, but not receiving the same amount of attention.”

Baker says the team designed a year-long program of basic oral care for patients at one hospital system. At the end of the year, pneumonia rates went down by 37 percent.

“Oral health care was the most modifiable. We felt it would be the easiest to implement, and its basic nursing care, and should be happening," says Baker. "So we just thought, let’s start with that! And we had these wonderful results.”

The nurse team estimated that eight deaths were prevented, almost two million dollars were saved, and 500 hospital days were averted.

Related Stories

  • Brown Sticking With Health Plan Tax

    Thursday, November 19, 2015

    Governor Jerry Brown’s administration says it will continue to work on a plan to overhaul the way health insurers are taxed in California.

  • Telehealth Growing In California

    Monday, November 16, 2015

    An increasing number of Californians are going to the doctor simply by sitting in front of their computers.

  • Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

    New Rules Designed To Protect Health Workers

    Thursday, November 05, 2015

    Health care workers are more likely to experience dangerous workplace situations than people in other industries. But new rules in California are designed to address the problem.