After surgery, the patient is taken to the recovery room, also called the post anesthesia care unit or PACU.
Patients staying overnight after surgery go to the inpatient recovery room. Patients going home after surgery return to the Surgicenter Plus.
Care of the patient in the recovery room is the responsibility of the anesthesiologist, but is provided by the recovery room nurse. The purpose of the recovery room is to help patients safely and comfortably transition from the helplessness of anesthesia to a level of function at which they can be moved to a hospital bed or go home if that is the plan.
Patients who have had general anesthesia will awaken in the recovery room. Patients who have had a spinal or epidural anesthetic will remain in the recovery room until the numbness and weakness wear down to an acceptable level. BP and pulse will be monitored frequently. The electrocardiogram and pulse oximeter will be monitored continuously. These are the same monitors that were gently applied just prior to the start of anesthesia.
Pain control is a very important part of recovery room care.
While the patient is being brought to the recovery room, the surgeon will seek out family and friends to reassure them that the surgery has been completed successfully and to answer questions.
The patient's clothes and belongings will travel with him. To a hospital bed if he will stay overnight; to the Surgicenter Plus if he will go home. Personal items such as eyeglasses, dentures, and hearing aids are often best left with the patient so that they can be available as soon as he wants them. Valuables are best left with relatives or friends.