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Keywords:

  • best practice;
  • evidence utilisation;
  • hypothermia;
  • perioperative;
  • temperature monitoring

Abstract

Aims

The prevention of inadvertent perioperative hypothermia (IPH) remains an important issue in perioperative healthcare. The aims of this project were to: (i) assess current clinical practice in the management of IPH and (ii) promote best practice in the management of IPH in adult operating theatres.

Methods

This project from August 2010 to March 2012 utilised a system of audit and feedback to implement best practice recommendations. Data were collected via chart audits against criteria developed from best practice recommendations for managing IPH. Evidence-based best practices, such as consistent temperature monitoring and patient warming, were implemented using multifaceted interventions.

Results

Perioperative records for 73 patients (baseline) and 72 patients (post-implementation) were audited. Post-implementation audit showed an increase in patients with temperatures >36°C admitted to the post-anaesthetic care unit (PACU) (8%) and discharged from PACU (28%). The percentage of patients receiving preoperative temperature monitoring increased (38%); however, low levels of intraoperative monitoring remained (31% of patients with surgery of 30 min or longer duration). Small increases were found in patient warming of 5% intraoperatively and 8% postoperatively. Preoperative warming was not successfully implemented during this phase of the project.

Conclusion

Temperature monitoring, warming and rates of normothermia improved; however, barriers to best practice of IPH management were experienced, which negatively impacted on the project. Further stages of implementation and audit were added to further address IPH management in this department.