Background Nonventilator hospital-associated pneumonia (NV-HAP) is a nosocomial infection with a multifactorial etiology that is particularly prevalent in individuals with poor oral health. Purpose This study was designed to determine the effect of a 0.12% chlorhexidine gluconate oral rinse intervention on oral health and on reducing NV-HAP in inpatients. Methods A randomized, double-blind, and triple-arm clinical trial was conducted on a sample of 103 patients aged ≥ 50 years. Using the blocking sample method, patients were randomly assigned into three groups. These included Group A, using an oral rinse solution of 0.12% chlorhexidine; Group B, using Listerine; and Group C, using a standard saline oral rinse. In addition to routine hospital-associated pneumonia preventative nursing care, the participants used the oral rinse solutions twice a day with a period of at least 9 hours between each use. Oral health, the degree of bacterial exposure, and the clinical pneumonia index scale were evaluated in each of the groups at baseline (first day), on Intervention Days 3 and 7, and at discharge. The clearance rate was calculated by dividing the number of bacteria cleared by the total frequency of oral bacteria in the collected culture × 100%. Results Each arm of the study was composed of 34-35 participants, with an average hospitalization duration of 7.5 days. There was no incidence of NV-HAP or any changes in clinical pulmonary infection score among the three groups. Group A achieved a more significant improvement in oral health assessment tool scores between baseline and discharge than either Group B or C (p =.03), particularly in the tongue, gums, and tissues; saliva; and oral cleanliness subscales. In addition, Group A reported higher clearance rates for Staphylococcus (100.00% vs. 66.67% vs. 66.67%, respectively), Escherichia coli (100.00% vs. 60.00% vs. 66.67%, respectively), and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (75.00% vs. 46.30% vs. 25.00%, respectively) than Groups B and C. Conclusions/Implications for Practice Although the results do not provide evidence supporting the use of a 0.12% chlorhexidine oral rinse as better in terms of preventing NV-HAP in middle-aged and elderly inpatients, nursing supervision was found to have an overall positive effect on oral health. The use of oral rinse with 0.12% chlorhexidine for nonventilated patients with poor oral health may be recommended.
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