Hospital Stay After Surgery
After surgery and following your stay in the recovery unit (post anesthesia care unit or PACU), you will be transferred to your hospital room. Depending on your situation, you may be transferred to theShort Stay Unit if your stay is expected to last less than 48 hours, or to R3 if you require a longer recovery period.
The nursing units are staffed by Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, Certified Nurses Assistants and Nursing Unit Secretaries; all committed to providing you with the excellent care and the best possible post-operative experience. Our team has a wealth of knowledge, years of experience, and are highly skilled. We pride ourselves on providing exceptional and compassionate care for our patients and families. Our staff have received specialized education in the care of vascular patients.
It is our goal to return you to the degree of independence you had prior to surgery and you plan an important role in your recovery! We begin helping you meet this goal from the moment you arrive on the nursing unit.
What can I expect as a post-operative vascular patient?
Before you are transferred to your hospital room, the staff who cared for you in the recovery unit (PACU) will provide your nurse with a full report including specific information about your surgery, review the doctor's orders, and how you are doing.
As you're settled into your room your nursing team will introduce themselves, orient you to your room and surroundings, show you how to use the call bell to request your nurse and let you know how long you'll be in their care. Your registered nurse will perform frequent "assessments" of your condition by monitoring your vital signs (temperature, heart rate, blood pressure) and by listening to your lungs and heart. We will observe your wound sites and check your pulses. Depending on your vascular operation, you may have an IV, epidural catheter, a PCA pump(Patient Controlled Analgesia), surgical drains and a urinary catheter. We will review with you and your loved ones what to anticipate over the next several hours and days while highlighting what will best promote your healing process.
What If I Experience Discomfort?
Control of your pain is one of our top priorities! Your nurse will ask you often to take deep breaths and cough, turn, sit up in bed, stand, sit in a chair and walk in your room and in the hallway! All of these activities are a necessary part of your recovery and will be hindered if your pain is not kept to a minimum.
Your doctor will order pain medication to help control any discomfort you experience. Together with your nurse, you will help decide what comfort measures will help you most. We will find the right pain relief strategies for you that may include intravenous (IV) or oral pain medications, proper positioning in your bed or chair, using a "cough pillow" and or course, rest!
By taking pain medication when you need it:
- Your medicine will work faster
- You will be able to move around more easily
- You will heal faster
It is our promise to work with you to make you as comfortable as possible.
When and What Can I Eat?
We will provide you with the type of food your doctor orders. Most likely, you will start with ice chips or sips of water as soon as you arrive on the unit. Usually adding bland easy-to-digest food like crackers or broth is the next step. When your doctor orders a "regular" diet, you may eat whatever you like. It is important to eat slowly after surgery and avoid greasy, spicy, or acidic foods to help prevent nausea.
What Can I Do To Help My Recovery?
You play an important role in your recovery! Following instructions from your doctor and nurse promotes healing and will help you get home faster!
- Take pain medication when you need it
- Sit in a chair as instructed by your doctor
- Walk in the hall as instructed by your doctor
- Take deep breaths and cough every hour
- Use your incentive spirometer every hour
These things lower the risk of complications after surgery, such as pneumonia, blood clots, and skin breakdown.
How will I know what I can do and what to expect after I'm discharged?
When you and your healthcare team feel you are medically stable for discharge, your nurse will review written discharge instructions with you. These instructions will include specific information relating to:
- Activity limits
- Incision care
- Pain relief
- When to call your doctor for a follow up appointment
- Who to call with any questions
What if I need help after I'm discharged?
You and your loved ones will work hand in hand with one of our expert care coordinators to determine services which may be required when you are discharged from Maine Medical Center. Our care coordinator will discuss your living arrangements and assistance you receive at home as they may be impacted due to the type of surgery you experienced. Sometimes patients don't require any services after surgery; other times a nurse is needed to go in to the patient's home to help with items such as dressing changes, assessments, or medication management. Some patients require skilled nursing facilities or a stay at a rehabilitation facility to increase their strength and independence before transitioning home. Your guidance and judgment are vital in a safe transition home. Your care coordinator will work with you to determine what services are needed and will confirm any post hospital assistance you may require.
We know being in the hospital is anything but "routine" to you. You can be sure we will be with you every step of the way. Caring for you, teaching you, and making this stressful time in your life as comfortable as possible are of utmost concern to each and every member of our team. We look forward to meet you and caring for you through your stay.
Carol Jo Morse, RN, R3
Dorothy Zieba, RN, SSU