Temperature: Rectal

  1. Perform hand hygiene and apply disposable gloves.
  2. Assist patient to comfortable position; ensure easy access to measurement site. Assist patient to side-lying Sims position with upper leg flexed. Expose only anal area, covering upper body and lower extremities with sheet or blanket.
  3. Attach rectal thermometer probe stem (red tip) to thermometer unit. Slide disposable plastic probe cover over probe stem until cover locks into place. Lubricate thermometer’s blunt end.
  4. Separate buttocks and have patient breathe slowly and relax.
  5. Gently insert thermometer into anus in direction of umbilicus 3.5 cm (1½ inches) for adult. Do not force thermometer.
  6. Leave probe or speculum in place until audible signal occurs and patient’s temperature appears on digital display. Then remove probe or speculum.
  7. Push ejection button to discard plastic probe (or speculum) cover into appropriate receptacle. Return thermometer stem to recording unit; return handheld unit to base.
  8. Return patient to comfortable position. After rectal temperature, wipe lubricant from patient’s anal area.
  9. Remove and dispose of gloves in appropriate receptacle. Perform hand hygiene.
  10. Return thermometer to charger or return handheld unit to thermometer base.
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