Patients and Visitors
  • Following Surgery


  • Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU)

    After surgery, you will be taken to the PACU, where nurses, specializing in the care of post-anesthesia patients, will closely monitor you until you are alert and stable. You may feel a mask on your face, providing supplemental oxygen until you are awake. As the anesthetic wears off, noises may sound louder than usual, and you may have blurred vision, a dry mouth and chills. These are all common side effects that will subside. You may experience pain or a burning sensation at the site of your surgery. Do not hesitate to ask your nurse for pain medication. A sore throat following general anesthesia is not unusual. The breathing tube in place during your surgery may cause irritation.

    Comfort and Pain Management

    We want to make your stay as comfortable as possible by maintaining an acceptable level of comfort, including relief from pain. A pain assessment scale has been developed and will be used to determine your individual pain level. The nurse will aggressively assess and manage your pain level based on the numerical value on the pain level key. All medications are administered as ordered by your physician. To understand more about our pain management philosophy click here.

    Transfer from PACU

    When you are ready, an orderly will transfer you by gurney to your assigned room. If you are spending the night, you may be assigned a different room than before surgery.

    Your physician will assess your needs after surgery and you will be assigned to the appropriate nursing unit based upon your physician's orders. For example, if you need a higher level of care immediately after surgery, you may be placed in one of our critical care units, either the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) or the Cardiac Care Unit (CCU). If you don't require this level of care, but your physician wants you to be electronically monitored, you will be assigned to one of the telemetry units, either the Definitive Observation Unit (DOU) or the Cardiac Step Down Unit (CSDU). If you do not require telemetry, you will be placed in one of our medical or surgical units. As your recovery progresses, you may be transferred to a different nursing unit to ensure that you are receiving the most appropriate level of care.

    Coughing Exercises

    Coughing helps clear secretions from your air passages.

    At first, a healthcare provider may help you move and turn in bed. You will be taught to turn, change positions, sit with your legs dangling over the side of the bed, and get out of bed.

    1. Hold a pillow against your body as instructed by your healthcare provider. This helps prevent discomfort around the incision site.
    2. Take 2 to 3 deep breaths.
    3. Cough 2 times.

    Ankle Pumps

    1. Lie on your back with your legs slightly apart. Keep your feet straight, toes pointed up.
    2. Slowly point your feet down, then back up.

    Ankle Circles

    1. Lie on your back with your legs slightly apart. Keep your feet straight, toes pointed up.
    2. Slowly turn your feet out to the sides. Then slowly turn them back toward each other.
    3. Return to starting position.

    Turn in Bed and Change Positions Often

    Going Home

    Several discharge criteria must be met before you go home.

    Please remember to make arrangements in advance for someone to drive you home. Before you leave the hospital you will receive instructions on your home care. After arriving home, plan on resting the remainder of the day. Someone should remain at home with you for at least the first 24 hours, since you will still be sedated and recovering from anesthesia.

    They include, but are not limited to:

    1. The ability to drink fluids and keep them down
    2. The ability to urinate (specific surgeries only)
    3. Stable vital signs
    4. Nausea under control
    5. Pain under control

    If any questions arise after you have gone home, please contact your physician directly.