Oral care practices of intensive care nurses: a descriptive study

Int J Nurs Pract. 2012 Aug;18(4):347-53. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-172X.2012.02045.x.


The aim of this study was to investigate intensive care unit (ICU) nurses' views and practices on oral care and to define the factors related to oral care measures. A study was carried out in eight ICUs of a teaching hospital in 2008. One hundred one nurses constituted the study sample. The data were collected using 'Oral Care Practices Survey' which included demographic characteristics (5 items) and current oral care practices (13 items). Oral care was given the highest priority by nearly 60% of the nurses. The most commonly used solution was sodium bicarbonate (79.2%), and the most frequently used equipment was foam swab (82.2%). Oral care was carried out less than every 4 h per day by 44.5% of the nurses. The oral care products and solutions were reported to be different in almost every unit. The relationship between the use of toothpaste and the place of employment was statistically significant (x(2) = 24.566, d.f. = 6, P = 0.000). There was a statistical significance between the clinics and frequency of oral care (x(2) = 81.486, d.f. = 42, P = 0.000). This study suggests that there is a wide variety of type and frequency of oral care measures among ICU nurses. Optimal oral care supported by evidence is an effective prevention method for eliminating oral complications.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Critical Care*
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oral Hygiene / nursing*
  • Practice Patterns, Nurses'*
  • Turkey
  • Young Adult