Information for the public

Before your operation

Before your operation

Staff should encourage you to bring extra clothes (such as slippers, a dressing gown, a vest and other warm clothing) to help you keep comfortably warm in hospital.

A healthcare professional should assess your risk of getting cold during the operation and of associated problems. If you are at higher risk (see box below), you should be kept warm using a special warming blanket or mattress throughout your operation.

Assessing your risk

If any 2 of the following apply to you, you are at higher risk of getting cold during your operation or of developing one of the health problems associated with perioperative hypothermia.

  • You have a condition that affects your general health, such as high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes or angina.

  • Your body temperature is below 36°C before your operation.

  • You are having a regional anaesthetic (such as an epidural) as well as a general anaesthetic.

  • Your operation is not a minor operation.

  • The assessment shows that you are at risk of heart problems during or after your operation.

Your temperature should be measured and recorded in the hour before you leave the ward or accident and emergency department. If your temperature is below 36°C you should be warmed in the ward or accident and emergency department using a special warming blanket or mattress. However, there might not be time for this if the operation is very urgent.

If your temperature is 36°C or above, you can be taken to the operating theatre. You should be encouraged to walk there if you can.