Preliminary research shows that up to 12% of the patients that present to the pre-op holding department of the local cancer center where found to be hypothermic. Hypothermia in post-op patients is a preventable complication which can lead to poor outcomes for patients including, decreased blood flow to the brain, prolonged intubation and prolonged recovery periods which impacts the safety of patient care.
The primary objective of this process improvement would be to decrease the percentage of patients leaving the pre-op holding department and entering the intra-operative area with temperatures below 96.8F.
The process as it currently exists is that the pre-op nurse takes the patients temperature upon arrival to the department but does not repeat the temperature if the patients temperature is below 96.8F after interventions have been made such as warm blankets. The recommendation in order to improve the process would be for the pre-op nurse to take the patients temperature upon arrival and if the temperature is below 96.8F the active warming forced air device would be applied and the patients temperature checked again in 30 minutes and repeatedly thereafter until the temperature reached above 96.8F in which the patient would be able to proceed to the intra-operative area.