By Dawn Thompson, DOR, Victoria Post Acute Care, El Cajon, CA

Over the last several months, Victoria Post Acute Care [VPAC] has honed in on vital sign monitoring as part of our daily practice in both nursing and therapy. I’ve been nominated to lead our vital signs committee, and during the next few weeks I’d like to share some of the best practices and education that assisted us through COVID and landed VPAC Vital Sign Grand Champions.

We’ll start with the vital sign we’re all monitoring daily, body temperature. After 8 months of daily screening, you’ve probably noticed a pattern and can guess your morning temperature within a few tenths of a degree; you’ve established your baseline temperature.

Do you know your residents’ baseline temperature? Would you be able to identify a fever and assist in early recognition of an infection?

Regularly measured body temperature is used to establish a baseline temperature and define the threshold temperature for fever. The elderly are noted with a lower baseline body temperature and a shift of 2.4*F above baseline is a fever, even when falling below definition of a fever at 100.4*F.

At VPAC, once a baseline temperature has been established, it is then added in special instructions in the Care Profile in PCC [See photo below]. This baseline temperature can then be used to assist in identifying any potential infection or COC with our residents.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions. (DawnThompson@ensignservices.net).