How do you document an axillary temp

  1. Do you document the temp you got and say it's axillary or do you add a degree and record?

    I know axillary is inaccurate but I'm auditing charts where a nurse documents really low temps and says that is normal (95.4) for elderly pts.
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    Joined: Sep '04; Posts: 4; Likes: 2


  3. by   psu_213
    It depends on your exact charting system. On our hospital EHR has a drop down to select the temperature site. The doctors can then interpret that as necessary.
  4. by   KelRN215
    Chart the actually temp and note that it was an axillary temp. For a lot of peds patients, it's the best way to get their temp.
  5. by   VivaLasViejas
    Don't chart a guess at the patient's actual temperature. Just note where you took the temp and let the physician figure it out.
  6. by   caliotter3
    In my paper charting, I use (ax) for axillary and (tym) for tympanic. I have also seen (infra) for infrared. If it were an oral temp, I could use (o) for oral, although I haven't done an oral temp in many years.
  7. by   JKL33
    Have always been taught to document the result and the method used, and not chart any converted number. This prevents any question about whether the number documented is with/without conversion.
  8. by   PeakRN
    We don't use axillary temps due to their inaccuracy, there are many better ways to take temps on patients of all ages.

    You should always be documenting actual findings.
  9. by   AnnieOaklyRN
    Most hospital grade thermometers have a button to select axillary which corrects for the location that the temperature is being taken, so I would not add a degree if this was the case.

  10. by   LovingLife123
    My thermometer switches to axillary. Then there is a drop down menu where I click axillary.
  11. by   debtor11
    Thank you for the replies. We work in home health, my argument was there is something wrong with her thermometer. She initially said the temp was oral but when I said that was not a normal temp, she said it was axillary.

    I told her axillary temps can be inaccurate by up to a degree and she said the elderly are normally in that range (95.4-95.9).
  12. by   caliotter3
    Sounds as if someone changed the route based on your statement. Either it was oral or it was axillary, not whichever the person speaking to you wanted it to be to fit their argument. And for that matter, people have different ranges. Best to take the temperature yourself over several instances and determine your own baseline for that patient. Let the other nurse(s) record their findings. BTW, in the past I have noticed that my readings always differed from that of another nurse on the case in more than one patient. Without knowing the reason why, all I could do was to take the reading the best I knew how and record it. It never turned out to be a situation where supervising personnel took an interest to query why there was that much of a consistent difference between caregivers.
  13. by   Leader25
    We do strictly ax on all infant , plus a one time rectal for patency confirmation,that is it. If there is any doubt of the temp , then the final answer is a rectal.Other areas do other things no one answer is the perfect fit for everyone,there are no absolutes in nursing ,I say in my humble opinion.You always have to be alert for variables.
  14. by   Glycerine82
    Never add to the vital, just document that it was axially - whether in your notes or if given the option to choose a site or add a comment on the actual vital recorded.