Basic Patient Care Procedures

1-6

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1-6. ADMINISTERING A TEPID SPONGE BATH FOR TEMPERATURE REDUCTION

 

a. General. A patient whose temperature reaches 102.2F will usually develop flush color, very warm and moist skin, and an accompanying headache. A tepid sponge bath may be recommended to reduce body temperature. Desired temperature reached is 99.6F.

 

b. Important Points.

(1) Remind the patient to call for assistance when getting up. The combination of the elevated temperatures and sponge bath could weaken the patient.

 

(2) Check the patient's temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate every 15 minutes.

 

(3) Maintain a level of privacy.

c. Procedure.

(1) Observe patient for elevated temperature. Review physician's orders.

 

(2) Explain the procedure to patient.

 

(3) Prepare the equipment:

(a) Bath basin.

 

(b) Tepid water (37C; 98.6F)

 

(c) Washcloth (4).

 

(d) Bath thermometer.

 

(e) Bath blanket.

 

(f) Patient thermometer.

(4) Provide privacy; wash hands.

 

(5) Cover patient with blanket, remove gown, and close windows and doors.

 

(6) Test the water temperature. Place washcloths in water and then apply wet cloths to each axilla and groin.

 

 

(7) Gently sponge an extremity for about 5 minutes. If the patient is in tub, gently sponge water over his upper torso, chest, and back.

 

(8) Continue sponge bath to other extremities, back, and buttocks for 3 to 5 minutes each. Determine temperature every 15 minutes.

 

(9) Change water; reapply freshly moistened washcloths to axilla and groin as necessary.

 

(10) Continue with sponge bath until body temperature falls slightly above normal. Discontinue procedure according to SOP.

 

(11) Dry patient thoroughly, and cover with light blanket or sheet.

 

(12) Return equipment to storage, clean area, and change bed linens as necessary. Wash hands.

 

(13) Record time procedure was started, when ended, vital signs, and patient's response.

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