Children's Health and Wellness

Recovery Room/Post-Anesthesia Care Unit

Where will my child recover from surgery?

Once surgery has been completed, your child will be brought to the recovery room, also called the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU). In the recovery room, registered nurses, anesthesiologists, and other health care professionals will closely monitor your child as he or she "awakens" from anesthesia. The length of time spent in recovery depends on the type of surgery performed, your child's response to surgery and anesthesia, and your child's medical condition. While your child is in recovery, the staff will (when applicable) complete the following:

  • Monitor vital signs such as blood pressure, pulse, and breathing

  • Monitor for any signs of complications

  • Take your child's temperature

  • Monitor your child's level of consciousness

  • Check tubes or drains

  • Check the wound

  • Check intravenous (IV) infusions

  • Monitor your child's urine output

  • Maintain your child's comfort with pain medication and body positioning

  • Make sure your child is awake enough to swallow effectively before offering something to drink

When your child is awake and his or her vital signs are stable, he or she will be brought back to a regular hospital room or discharged home.

Online Source: Normothermia Clinical Guideline, American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurseshttp://www.aspan.org/Clinical-Practice/Clinical-Guidelines/Normothermia
Online Source: PONV-PDNV Clinical Guidelines, American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurseshttp://www.aspan.org/Clinical-Practice/Clinical-Guidelines/PONV-PDNV
Online Source: Pain and Comfort Clinical Guideline, American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurseshttp://www.aspan.org/Portals/6/docs/ClinicalPractice/Guidelines/ASPAN_ClinicalGuideline_PainComfort.pdf
Online Source: Who Will Hold My Hand? A Guide for Parents Whose Child Needs an Operation, American College of Surgeonshttp://www.facs.org/public_info/wwhym.html
Online Editor: Geller, Arlene
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Online Medical Reviewer: Sweetwood, Jane, RN, MSN
Date Last Reviewed: 11/3/2013
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