Skin temperature as a clinical parameter for nursing care: a descriptive correlational study

Rhea S. A. Soares, Suzinara B. S. Lima, Thaís D. Eberhardt*, Liane R. Rodrigues, Robson S. Martins, Lidiana B. T. D. Silveira, Paulo J. P. Alves

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To identify the skin temperature in different body areas of hospitalized individuals in the surgical unit, without risk of developing a pressure ulcer (PU). Methods: A descriptive, correlational and cross-sectional study, carried out May-October 2017, in a surgical unit of a university hospital in southern Brazil. Temperature was measured at the bony prominences including scapula, elbow, trochanters and heels, on both sides of the body, as well as occipital and sacral regions. Results: A total of 230 patients took part in the study. All regions of the body measured presented differences in temperatures. The sacral region presented the highest mean temperature (34.2±0.1 °C). Patients (aged 18-59 years) had higher skin temperatures in the sacral region than older patients (aged 60-88 years). There was a symmetry in temperatures on both sides of the body. There was a low degree of correlation between age, room temperature, room humidity and skin temperature in some body regions. Conclusion: The study established mean values for skin temperature in specific body regions in patients without risk of developing a PU, hospitalised in a surgical unit. It also demonstrates how skin temperature can be used as a clinical parameter in practice to support the prevention of PUs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)835-841
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of wound care
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2019


  • Hospitalization
  • Nursing
  • Pressure ulcer
  • Skin
  • Skin temperature


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