Core body temperature, skin temperature, and interface pressure. Relationship to skin integrity in nursing home residents

Adv Wound Care. 1999 Jun;12(5):246-52.


Objective: To ascertain the effects of 1-, 1 1/2-, and 2-hour turning intervals on nursing home residents' skin over the sacrum and trochanters.

Hypotheses: (1) the higher the core body temperature, the higher the skin surface temperature; (2) the 2-hour turning interval would have significantly higher skin surface temperature; (3) there would be no relationship between skin surface temperature and interface pressure; and (4) the sacrum would have the lowest skin surface temperature.

Design: Modified Latin-square.

Setting: For-profit nursing home.

Participants: Convenience sample of 26 residents who scored < 3 on the Short Portable Mini-Mental Status Questionnaire and did not have (1) open wounds; (2) albumin levels < 3.3 mg/dL; (3) severe arthritis; (4) cortisone, anticoagulation, insulin therapy or 3 medications for hypertension; and/or (5) were totally bedridden.

Main outcome measure(s): First Temp measured core temperature; a disposable thermistor temperature probe, skin temperature; and a digital interface pressure evaluator, the interface pressure.

Results: Negative correlation (r = -.33, P = .003) occurred between core body temperature and skin surface temperature. Skin surface temperature rose at the end of the 2-hour turning interval but was not significant (F = (2.68) = .73, P = .49). Weak negative relationship (r = -12, P = .29) occurred between skin surface temperature and interface pressure, and sacral skin surface temperature was significantly lower for the left trochanter only (F = (8.68) = 7.05, P = .002).

Conclusion: Although hypotheses were not supported, more research is needed to understand how time in position and multiple chronic illnesses interact to affect skin pressure tolerance.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Body Temperature*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Evaluation Research
  • Nursing Homes
  • Posture*
  • Pressure Ulcer / etiology*
  • Pressure Ulcer / prevention & control*
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Temperature*
  • Time Factors