After Your Surgery

Initial Care

Following surgery, your anesthesiologist (or nurse anesthetist) and operating room nurse will take you to the recovery room. A professional recovery room nurse will provide constant care for 1-2 hours. As your anesthesia wears off noises may sound louder than usual and your vision may be blurred. You may experience a dry mouth, chills and pain or burning at your surgical site. Talk to your nurse about any pain you may have and ask about medication if you think you need it.

The nurse, in coordination with anesthesia staff, will determine your discharge time from the recovery Room. When you are discharged, a responsible adult must drive you home and stay with you for at least 24 hours.

Outpatient Surgery Post-Op

If you are a one-day surgical patient, the amount of time you need to stay in post-op recovery after your operation varies, depending on the type of operation, anesthetic and your medical history. Before you are discharged, you will:

  • Be given your choice of water, juice or a soft drink.
  • Get up and walk a short distance, unless your operation or medical condition prevents you from walking.
  • Be given a discharge instruction sheet.
  • Be given any prescriptions your doctor wants you to take home.
  • Be instructed regarding follow-up care.
  • Be assisted to your vehicle if necessary.

If you are going home after surgery, you must have a responsible adult companion drive you home. You cannot drive yourself home after your operation. A bus or cab is not acceptable unless someone you know is with you. It is required that a responsible adult remain with you for 24 hours after your surgery.

Discharge Home

When you are ready for discharge, a nurse will review home care instructions with you and your caregiver. Since you may not remember your instructions, it is a good idea to read them again the next day.

When you are discharged, a responsible adult must drive you home and stay with you for at least 24 hours. Patients MAY NOT drive themselves home. Patients may feel slightly sleepy or dizzy after anesthesia and medication. Therefore, we cannot safely allow you to drive, so someone MUST drive you home.

Discharge Instructions

You will receive discharge instructions before leaving. It is important for you and anyone assisting with your care to understand these instructions. Your nurse will explain and demonstrate special instructions to aid in your home recovery. Your nurse will also instruct you on when to call your surgeon for a follow-up visit.

Make sure to keep your follow-up physician appointment(s) and follow diet instructions from your surgeon and/or nurse.

Please call your surgeon with additional concerns and questions.

Prescriptions

If you choose, you may have your prescriptions filled at our outpatient pharmacy. The Potomac Center pharmacy is located on the ground floor of the medical office building just outside the hospital main entrance.

Having your prescriptions filled before you leave the hospital will save you a stop on the way home. This is a convenient service available to all surgery patients. If you think you may want to use the pharmacy, please bring your prescription card to the hospital with you. The pharmacy does require payment at the time the prescription is filled (cash, check or credit card).

If you need assistance with getting your prescription filled before you leave, we would be pleased to assist you.

Sentara in the Community