Background of the study: Oral care is an essential aspect of critical care nursing. Oral hygiene care for critically ill patients to prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia. The role of oral hygiene in maintaining the health and wellbeing of mechanically ventilated patients in intensive care is apparent. There are many variances in the quality and frequency of the oral care that is delivered to patients by nursing staff. Oral care being given a low priority when compared to other nursing care elements .Oral care delivery is neglected and is dependent on the nurse’s knowledge of oral hygiene. Nursing Staff knows that good nursing includes oral health care, but this knowledge does not always mean that oral health care is administered. Oral health care seems to be separated from other nursing activities.
Aim: The aim of this study is to assess the knowledge and practice of staff nurses regarding oral hygiene in critically ill patients admitted in critical care units of selected Hospital at Mysuru, with a view to develop an oral care protocol.
Methods: In the study descriptive design is used and purposive sampling was adopted to select 60 staff nurses working in critical care units from JSS hospital Mysuru. Pilot Study was conducted, the tool and study design were found to be feasible. The knowledge and practice was measured by using structured knowledge questionnaires and structured observational checklist. Structured knowledge questionnaire and structured observational checklist used to collect the data. The tool was validated by experts and reliability was established by split half method and interrater method. Oral care protocol will be given to all the critical care units. The data was analyzed by using descriptive and inferential statistics.
Results: The analysis of the findings revealed that, the knowledge and practice scores of staff nurses regarding oral hygiene in critically ill patients revealed that 58% were having average knowledge and 100% were having inadequate practice. The findings of the present study showed that there was a significant correlation between knowledge scores and practice scores of staff nurses regarding oral hygiene in critically ill patients. The calculated correlation coefficient(r) was 0.275 which is greater than the table value 0.2732 at 0.05 level of significance, which showed that knowledge influence the practice of staff nurses. The study findings also revealed that there was no association between knowledge scores of staff nurses and their selected personal variables like age, gender, qualification, years of experience and previous exposure to educational programmes regarding oral hygiene in critically ill patients. Since all the samples come under inadequate practice chi square and fishers exact test could not be calculated.
Conclusion: The findings of this study revealed that there is a lack of knowledge and practice of staff nurses regarding oral hygiene in critically ill patients. It is essential to stress the increasing responsibility of health professionals in planning; implementing various educational strategies to improve the knowledge and practice of staff nurses regarding oral hygiene in critically ill patients which in turn help to reduce certain complications.
Keywords: Staff nurses, Oral care protocol, Oral hygiene in critically ill patients