Decreasing the Incidence of Inadvertent Perioperative Hypothermia: A Quality Improvement Study

Date of Completion

January 2011


Health Sciences, Nursing|Health Sciences, Surgery




Hypothermia is a complication surgical patients commonly face within the perioperative environment. The exposure to hypothermia can significantly affect surgical morbidity and mortality. While hypothermia is a complication that arises within the perioperative period interventions are available to markedly reduce its occurrence. This document reviews the significance of inadvertent perioperative hypothermia in the adult population, its incidence, causes, outcomes, and required interventions to prevent the occurrence. This study served as a foundation to the introduction of an evidence-based quality improvement initiative utilizing Larrabee's (1996) theory of quality and Larrabee's (2009) Model for Evidence-Based Practice Change. The study involved assessment of knowledge of inadvertent perioperative hypothermia before and after an educational offering, provision of performance feedback regarding knowledge gain and practice change, implementation of consistent practice in accordance with an evidence-based policy and procedure, and the evaluation of the occurrence of inadvertent perioperative hypothermia after the practice change. ^