A better product for nurses started with a nurse’s perspective.
The origin of better oral care
When I began my nursing career 43 years ago, nurses received little or no training on how best to administer effective oral care. As a field, we greatly underestimated the importance of oral hygiene for hospitalized patients. Very little was known about oral health and its effects on systemic health.
These days, patients in the ICU arrive sicker than ever before—more patients survive their traumatic event or stroke and are already on ventilators by the time they are admitted to the ICU. Patients placed on a ventilator have up to a 10% risk of developing ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), which has a mortality rate of 10% and can cost hospitals up to $40,000 per patient!
Healthcare-acquired pneumonia (HCAP) is a common healthcare-associated infection, usually resulting from aspiration of oral bacteria. HCAP may be present in 1 of every 100 patients and is common in patients who have difficulty swallowing.
Many patients rely on nurses for oral care. However, the oral care patients receive is often inadequate, and the least effective oral care products (eg, foam swabs) are used on the sickest patients. Even world-class nurses are only as good as the tools in their hands.
My PhD research focused on the safety and efficacy of oral care for critical care patients. And that research helped me bring in the latest insights from the dental industry to develop OralKleen, the first comprehensive oral care system with electric cleaning and integrated light and suction.
OralKleen is the first major oral care advancement in hospital care in 50 years, and it’s already significantly reducing infection rates. Just as importantly, OralKleen is preferred by 95% of caregivers and saves minutes on every treatment. When you’re a nurse who cares for multiple patients, those minutes matter.
I am dedicated to providing the very best experience and outcomes possible for dependent patients. OralKleen is an environmentally responsible option that is redefining the future of oral care for all hospitalized patients.
So why aren’t we using these advanced tools on our vulnerable patients, who need them most?
The lack of oral care research and disparities in oral care products compared with advances in technology for the rest of the body led me to pursue my PhD, focusing on the safety and efficacy of oral care for critical care patients.
My research led me to bring in the latest insights and technologies from the dental industry to develop OralKleen, the first comprehensive oral care system with electric cleaning and integrated light and suction. It’s the first major oral care advancement in hospital care in 50 years, and it’s already significantly reducing infection rates. Just as importantly, OralKleen is preferred by 95% of caregivers and saves minutes on every treatment. When you’re a nurse, caring for multiple patients, those minutes matter.
I am dedicated to providing the very best experience and outcomes possible for my patients—and I know you are, too. With OralKleen, we’re re-defining the future of oral care for all hospitalized patients by placing the power of oral hygiene in caregivers’ hands.
Virginia Prendergast, PhD, NP-C, FAAN
OralKleen Founder and Chief Scientific Officer
Director Advanced Practice Nursing and Evidence Based Practice
Barrow Neurological Institute
Cindy Kleiman, RDH, BS is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. She has spent her entire career working with the medically complex patient. She began in Philadelphia as the first dental hygienist to work at MossRehab Hospital. When she moved to Phoenix, she was singularly influential in the founding of the dental department at Banner – University Rehabilitation Institute. Ms. Kleiman then became adjunct faculty at Phoenix College for 20 years, where in a unique internship she mentored dental hygiene students to care for patients in their own homes, nursing homes or hospitals. Independently, she also provided clinical dental hygiene care in a nursing facility for 18 years.
Ms. Kleiman is a consultant to hospitals on inpatient oral care and was an integral contributor to Dr. Virginia Prendergast’s randomized clinical trial. She has presented over 400 lectures, both in the US and internationally and has published in both nursing and dental hygiene journals. Ms. Kleiman has been profiled as an innovative leader in her field by six national journals and has received five awards for providing unique care.