Postoperative care is what should be observed after any surgery. While different types of surgeries call for different procedures, it often includes pain management and wound care. This begins immediately after surgery. Post- op spans the duration of ones stay at the hospital and may continue post discharge. The health specialist ideally informs the patient of the precautions and steps that need to be taken with regard to one’s unique situation. Before you have surgery, ask your doctor what the postoperative care will involve. This will give you time to prepared beforehand.
While many hospitals provide written discharge instructions, it’s always wise to be informed pre and post-surgery regarding the way forward.
Here are some standard questions to help you out:
● 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?
This exchange will inform you of all the preparations you need to do ahead of time in addition to arranging for a caregiver. This will also prepare you for any complications that may arise and help you prevent them.
Surgeries often expose patients to the risk of infection, bleeding at the surgical site, and blood clots caused by inactivity. Try to stay in the loop about all the changes that are happening in your body as a result of surgery, including what to expect and what to report.
Postoperative care in the hospital
Post Surgery, you’ll find yourself in the recovery room. If you’ve had a general surgery, you will have been placed under general Anesthesia. It can cause an allergic reaction in some people but that is uncommon. Waking up feeling groggy, or even nauseated is normal. Your vitals will be periodically monitored and you will be closely observed for development of any allergic reaction. In addition to this, lung function through breathing will be checked. This will be done till you’re stable, post which you’ll be moved to a hospital room.
Outpatient surgery is commonly known as same-day surgery. Unless you show signs of postoperative problems, you’ll be discharged on the same day as your procedure. You won’t need to stay overnight. However before you’re granted discharge you’ll have to demonstrate ability to breathe, drink, and urinate normally. Because of the anesthesia, you will not be allowed to drive immediately. Therefore, do make sure you take care of your transport beforehand.
In cases where a continued post operative care is required, you’ll need to stay in the hospital overnight or longer. In some cases, patients of outpatient surgery are retained for longer if they show any complications or the doctors feel you must be kept under observation.
After being moved out of the recovery room, you are likely to have an intravenous (IV) catheter in your arm, a finger device that measures oxygen levels in your blood, and a dressing on your surgical site. Depending on the type of surgery you had, you may also have a breathing apparatus, a heartbeat monitor, and a tube in your mouth, nose, or bladder.
Your vitals will still be checked including your response to the administered medicines. You will receive pain relievers in addition to these medicines through your IV, by injection, or orally. You may be asked to get up and walk around, with or without assistance. This helps with curbing blood clots and strengthening the muscles. To prevent respiratory complications you’ll be made to breathe heavily or forcefully cough. The time and date of discharge will be finalised by the doctor.
Postoperative care at home
It’s imperative to follow the doctor’s instructions after leaving the hospital. Take the prescribed medications, watch out for potential complications, and keep your follow-up appointments.
Follow rest instructions carefully. Avoid exerting yourself, on the other hand, don’t neglect physical activity. Resume your routine work as advised. It’s best to however, do it gradually.
In some cases, you’ll have an assigned caregiver to tend to your wounds, prepare food, keep you clean, and support you while you move around. If you don’t have a family member or friend who can help, caregiving services are easily available.
Keep in mind that you can always contact your doctor if you develop a fever, increased pain, or bleeding at the surgical site.
Appropriate follow-up care can help reduce your risk of complications after surgery and support your recovery process. With a little planning and proactive care, you can help make your recovery as smooth as possible.