Going Home from Recovery

Many patients go home directly from the Recovery Room (PACU) after fully waking up from anesthesia. If this is the case for you, before you go home be sure you:

  • Understand what type of incision you have and how to care for your surgical wound. This teaching should begin in the surgeon's office before you have surgery. The nurses in the recovery room will review this information again and go over anything you are unclear about.
  • Know the signs/symptoms of a surgical site infection and when you need to call your surgeon.
  • Have the contact information for your surgeon's office.
  • Have a follow-up appointment for a post-surgical visit with your surgeon.

We want you to be as comfortable as possible. Before leaving, be sure you understand your pain control plan. If your recovery will require pain, or other types of prescription medications, it can be arranged for these to be delivered to you in the recovery room before discharge so you can avoid a trip to your pharmacy.

We care about your safety

Be sure to follow these instructions after going home from the recovery room:

  • A responsible adult, usually a significant other, friend or relative, MUST accompany you when you leave the recovery room.
  • A responsible adult should stay with you for at least 24 hours after your procedure or surgery. If you had a surgery that limits your ability to do your activities of daily living, the responsible adult should plan to stay with you longer.
  • Remember that anesthesia has side effects. You may feel light-headed, dizzy, or sleepy for the next 24 hours. Use caution when climbing stairs, showering, etc.
  • Gradually increase your food intake from liquids to solids. Anesthesia and pain medications can both cause an upset stomach, so stick with bland foods at first and slowly progress to your normal diet.
  • Do not drive or operate machinery for at least 24 hours after surgery.
  • Do not drink alcoholic beverages for 24 hours after surgery.
  • Do not do online shopping for 24 hours after surgery
  • Do not make important decisions or sign important documents for 24 hours after surgery.
When to call the doctor

It is important to remember that these instructions are guidelines that apply to any surgery. You will receive more detailed instructions related to your specific surgery in your surgeon's office. These instructions will also be reviewed with you and your support person by your post-anesthesia nurse before you go home.