A hospital intervention program to improve oral hygiene by having patients brush their teeth twice a day cut hospital-acquired pneumonia 90%, according to a VA medical center in Virginia.
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Beginning in late 2016, nurses at the Salem Veterans Affairs Medical Center Community Living Centers began ensuring patients brushed their teeth twice a day.
Since then, the number of non-ventilator cases of hospital-acquired pneumonia have decreased by 90%.
Calling the program Project HAPPEN (Hospital-Acquired Pneumonia Prevention by Engaging Nurses), they have expanded the effort to eight VA hospitals so far and have to date prevented 117 cases of pneumonia—saving an estimated 21 lives and reducing costs by $4.69 million.