BACKGROUND: Hypothermia at admission to neonatal intensive care units (NICU) is associated with increased morbidity and mortality in newborns. A baseline study at a tertiary care hospital with all out-born babies showed admission hypothermia of 82%.
OBJECTIVE: To reduce admission hypothermia (moderate) in newborns at least by 50% in next 6 months. METHODS:A quality improvement (QI) study was planned using WHO Point of Care Quality Improvement Model (POCQI),  using PDSA (Plan-Do-Study-Act) cycle approach from April 2018 to March 2019, and including 427 term and preterm babies. We educated the staff, reinforced the use of caps, cling wraps, warm linen, introduced Ziploc bags and ensured adequate use of transport incubator.
RESULTS: After 6 months, overall admission hypothermia decreased from 82% to 45%, moderate hypothermia reduced from 46% to <10% (P < 0.001) and severe hypothermia (3%) was completely eliminated. There was also significant reduction in incidence of IVH (13% Vs 4.7%), LONS (38% Vs 19%) and metabolic acidosis (43% Vs 28%). We were able to sustain this improvement for the next 6 months and is ongoing. The strongest predictor of hypothermia was newborns being in the phase before QI initiative was started (OR 2.36, 95% CI 1.47, 3.23).
CONCLUSION: This study is a cost effective approach in reducing admission hypothermia in NICU in a resource limited setting with all outborn babies, and further decreasing the morbidity associated with it. Hence, emphasizing the importance of maintaining euthermia, not only in delivery rooms, but also during transportation.