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Archive August 2019 XX, No. 8

Normothermia Is Good Business

Surgical facility leaders say patient warming pays for itself.

Adam Taylor


ECONOMIC BENEFIT More than 94% of surgical facility leaders we surveyed agreed that there is a clear economic benefit to preventing hypothermia — but not many can put a price tag on it.

It costs the Graystone Eye Surgery Center in Hickory, N.C., $1.05 to warm a patient. A loaner linen service charges $1 to clean a blanket, and the cost of using the blanket warmer is nominal, about 5 cents a case.

“Patients often comment on how much they enjoy warm ‘real’ blankets,” says Ann Leary, RN, Graystone’s infection control and perioperative supervisor. “Greater patient satisfaction leads to an enhanced reputation in the community, which generates patient referrals.”

How do you put a price on a warm patient? We surveyed nearly 100 readers last month to see if they knew how much it costs to prevent hypothermia. Though most didn’t, more than 94% of respondents agreed that there is a clear economic benefit to preventing hypothermia. The few respondents that did do the math estimated warming costs $5 to $30 per case. And those who don’t know, don’t care because the costs to prevent hypothermia are offset by the expensive clinical complications that patient warming works to prevent, not to mention the patients who appreciate the warmth.

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