Do I need Postoperative Care?

July 1, 2021

Every year, surgeons perform about 48 million surgical procedures in the United States alone. After every single one of these surgeries, patients have to go through a recovery period. During this time, their family members or medical staff take care of them until their bodies can continue with normal processes.

The kind of care that they get after surgery is called postoperative care. And, it’s extremely important to make sure that they’re getting the best care possible so that they can get better.

Pre and Postoperative Care

Similar to postoperative care, preoperative care provides help to individuals before they undergo surgery. This is helpful for people who may be suffering from a chronic condition.

Preparing ahead of your surgery is one of the best ways to ensure that the surgery itself goes well. This includes getting preoperative care if needed, asking the right questions, and getting an idea of what to expect after surgery.

Most hospitals and surgical centers will provide written discharge instructions, but you should ask a few questions upfront. Here are some questions you may want to consider asking:

  • How long do I have to stay at the hospital/surgical center after the surgery?
  • If I’m going home after the surgery, do I need designated medical care?
  • Do I need to get any special medication or supplies for my post-surgical care?
  • Should I look at hiring a physical therapist or nurse?
  • What kind of side effects should I expect following the surgery?
  • What problems should I look out for? What kind of complications should I call you about or visit the ER for?
  • What can I do to support my recovery? What things should I avoid doing?
  • When can I resume doing everything I did before the surgery?

By asking these questions, you’ll get a good idea of the kind of help you’ll need after the surgery. So, you can set up any care that you need ahead of time.

And, you’ll also know when you can return to normal, whether that be going to the gym, golfing, or something else.

Postoperative Care in the Hospital

If you’re staying in the hospital or surgical center after your surgery, your physician will move you to the recovery room following the surgery. You’ll likely be there for a few hours while you’re recovering from the anesthesia. 

Medical staff will be there to monitor your blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen level, and other important vital signs. They’ll also inspect the surgical site for bleeding or infection. And, they’ll ensure that you aren’t having an allergic reaction to any of the medications that you’ve gotten.

Once the medical staff declares you stable, they’ll move you to a hospital room. Depending on your status, you may stay there for a few hours, days, or even weeks:

Outpatient Surgery

You may hear medical personnel refer to outpatient surgery as same-day surgery. After this kind of surgery, the medical staff will discharge you. That is unless you’re showing signs of any infection or other post-operative issues.

You won’t even need to stay overnight.

Postoperative care for this kind of surgery will include a quick but thorough check from the medical staff before they discharge you. They’ll ensure the following:

  • You can breathe normally
  • You can drink
  • You can urinate
  • You can sustain a good oxygen level
  • You have a ride home

Most outpatient surgeries don’t require patients to hire at-home help. Although, if your family isn’t able to care for you while the anesthesia is wearing off, you may need to hire a nurse for the day.

Inpatient Surgery

Inpatient surgery involves staying overnight or for a few nights after the surgery. Postoperative care for this kind of procedure occurs in the hospital/surgical center.

Medical personnel will move these patients from the recovery room into a hospital room. They’ll place an IV catheter and start measuring vitals. 

The medical staff will also likely have you perform a myriad of tasks and exercises to ensure that you’re able to do things for yourself after the surgery. One of the most important exercises is movement. The more that you move, the less likely it is that you’ll form a blood clot.

Postoperative Care at Home

Whether you had an outpatient or inpatient surgery, you’re likely going to need some kind of care when you leave the hospital. You need someone who’s going to hold you accountable for meeting all of the doctor’s commands and suggestions.

So, you should get someone who can take care of you. And, the best way to ensure that you’re doing things right is to make a postoperative nursing care plan. A postoperative nurse can help you make a plan that works for you and your doctor.

They will ensure that you’re following the doctor’s orders without overdoing it. And, they can lend a helping hand whenever things seem difficult.

Benefits of Postoperative Nursing Care

Postoperative nursing care is there when family can’t be. And, even if you do have family around, your nurse can help facilitate the recovery process.

If you don’t want your family members caring for you, let a postoperative nurse take care of it. They are knowledgeable in everything that you need to be able to do. And, they know how to take care of you just like the medical personnel at the hospital.

So, you can spend time hanging out with your family rather than worrying about them having to take care of you.

Do I Need Postoperative Nurse Care?

If you’re about to have surgery, you’ll likely need some level of postoperative care. It may be for a day or a month.

Be sure to talk to your doctor about the recovery period for your surgery so that you know what to expect. It’s also useful to know what kind of activities you may have trouble doing on your own. Then, you can find the perfect postoperative nurse for you.

And, while you’re looking for the right one, keep our care providers in mind. Contact us when you’re ready to get started.