Published On 07/11/2011

Why this is important to you

We measure our patients’ body temperature to help prevent complications caused by surgery. Normothermia refers to maintaining normal body temperature (96.8-100.4°F or 36-38°C) during specific surgeries.

Being too cold during surgery may:

  • increase the possibility of an infection at the surgical site, which can make a patient sicker, prolong recovery and increase the hospital stay and costs
  • cause the patient to shiver while in the recovery room
  • increase the potential for blood loss and the need to receive blood

How we measure

We use devices to help keep our patients temperatures within the normal range and document when we check those devices.

We have several staff members, called Abstractors, who are trained to read patient charts and find specific information related normothermia. Each month, they select a random sample of patients who have undergone surgeries for which maintaining body temperature is important. They review these charts to make sure we provided the patient with appropriate temperature management.

Our current performance is 100% compliance with all elements related to normothermia. Our goal is 100% compliance.

Our performance over time

What we are doing to ensure normothermia

  • Use a warming device during surgery to maintain the patient’s body temperature within the normal range
  • Document use of the warming device on the chart
  • Take the patient’s temperature at specified times and write it on the chart
  • Document when the patient’s body temperature is decreased on purpose
  • Review charts that did not meet goal in order to improve the process