Porter Regional Hospital is the first hospital in the region to develop a structured oral care program to prevent Hospital-Acquired Pneumonia (HAP) and keep its patients safer.
“HAP is a huge concern. It’s the most common hospital-acquired infection in the U.S.,” explained Ann Batagianis, Porter’s infection control coordinator. “It can increase a patient’s length-of-stay by seven to nine days and the associated costs can be more than $40,000 per case. Plus, we must remember that patients in the hospital are already sick and acquiring pneumonia can be even more devastating to their health than others.”
To reduce HAP at Porter Regional Hospital, the Infection Control team worked with a 750-bed hospital in Sacramento, Calif. that had a program in place. Using that as the protocol, Porter’s team designed an evidence-based oral care program then collaborated with Purdue University Calumet nursing students to get the ball rolling.
“It’s all about educating our patients on good oral care during their hospital stay such as ensuring they brush their teeth three times a day. Or if a patient in unable to perform their oral care independently, we provide special kits to accommodate patients who need extra assistance to eliminate germs that can travel to their lungs and cause pneumonia,” said Batagianis. Porter’s oral care program rolled out May 11 with the education of nurses and nursing assistants.
“Stopping HAP is a priority at Porter Regional Hospital. Every patient admitted will get an oral care packet and receive individual instruction during their hospital stay. Our nursing team will continually help and support them in administering oral care as well as emphasize the importance of it while in the hospital,” said Batagianis. “Our protocol-based oral care program is essentially a life-saving measure and a very important part of Porter’s mission to protect and better serve our patients.”
Porter Health Care System has two hospital campuses and seven outpatient facilities serving Porter, Lake, LaPorte, Starke, Newton, Marshall and Jasper counties. With more than 350 physicians representing 50 medical specialties, Porter Health Care System is committed to medical excellence and personalized, patient-centered care. Porter is directly or indirectly owned by a partnership that proudly includes physician owners, including certain members of the hospital’s medical staff.