What is it?
Postoperative care is the care you receive after a surgical procedure. The type of postoperative care to receive depends on your surgery and health history.
Postoperative care begins immediately after surgery. It lasts for the entire duration of your hospital stay and may continue after you’ve been discharged. Critical immediate concerns are airway protection, pain control, mental status, and wound healing
Purpose and importance
The main goal of postoperative care is to provide patients with the appropriate support that would prevent any potential future complications. As well as returning the patients to their preoperative level of function.
Before any operations its is important to ask your doctor about what the preoperative care will involve. This allows you time to prepare beforehand.
Try to ask as many questions as possible before your surgery, and ask for updated instructions before you are discharged from the hospital. There are many hospitals that provide written discharge instructions.
You should ask your doctor some of the following questions:
- How long will I be expected to remain in the hospital?
- Will I need any special supplies or medications when I go home?
- Will I need a caregiver or physical therapist when I go home?
- What side effects can I expect?
- What complications should I watch out for?
- What things should I do or avoid to support my recovery?
- When can I resume normal activity?
After surgery, patients would be moved to a recovery room. After the patient wakes up from the anesthesia they would feel a bit groggy and nauseous.
It is usually normal for patients to feel soreness in the throat after surgery, as well as feeling of pain, swelling, restlessness and thirst. However, this differs from the type of surgery the patients has had.
The length of the patients stay depends on their speed of recovery and the type of surgery they had. During your stay nurses or clinical staff would closely monitor patients recovery process. Nurses would do the following to keep status of your health and recovery:
- Monitor for any signs of complications
- Take the patient’s temperature
- Check for swallowing or gagging
- Monitor the patient’s level of consciousness
- Check any lines, tubes, or drains
- Check the wound
- Check intravenous infusions
- Monitor the patient’s urine output
- Maintain the patient’s comfort with pain medication and body positioning
There may be specific exercises patients may need to perform to help the recovery process:
Lying flat for an extended period of time causes fluids to accumulate in the lungs. Taking deep breaths utilizing the entire diaphragm and abdomen can prevent pneumonia from developing.
Coughing helps remove chest secretions, which is another way to prevent pneumonia.
Changing positions while in the recovery bed helps stimulate circulation and deeper breathing and relieves pressure areas.
Foot and leg exercises
Moving the legs and feet stimulates circulation. Depending on the type of surgery, patients are encouraged to bend the knee and raise the foot several times, to “bicycle” and to draw circles with their great toes. Patient may be asked to wear special elastic stockings to stimulate circulation.
It is important to ask your health care providers as many questions as possible regarding your discharge so that you are able to continue any postoperative treatments at home. The type of instructions patients would be given depends on their health, recovery and the type of surgery they had.
- Which doctor/s do I need to see after I’m discharged? What tests do I need to do? When do I need to see them? What are their phone numbers?
- May I have the latest list of my medications?
- Do I continue to take the other medicines I used to take, but are not on this list? (including vitamins and supplements)
- What number do I call if I have questions about my medicines?
- Do I need a caregiver? If so, who is it and how do I contact this person?
- What do I need to do at home to get better? (i.e., weigh myself, check my blood pressure, check my blood sugar, special exercises, etc.)
- Can you show me (and my caregiver) how to do tasks that require special skills (i.e., changing a bandage, giving a shot)?
If you have any questions regarding this article, or anything comments you have about what you just read. Please feel free to contact us!