What to Expect
At Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center, we understand that no surgery is routine from a patient’s point of view, so we promise to provide the personal attention you deserve. We want you to be as informed as possible, and we want to know as much about you as we can to assure that we provide you with the safest possible care. Here’s what you can expect from us.
Located on the north side of the building next to the Emergency Department, our Presurgical Testing Center will treat you and your family with respect and dignity while gathering all of the information that your surgical team needs in order to provide an individualized plan of care for you. Enter through the Outpatient entrance, and security will direct you, if needed.
We will call you to set up an appointment for testing prior to your scheduled surgery. The Medical Center’s compassionate, caring staff encourages your participation in the care that you will receive, so be prepared to ask questions and express your concerns.
Before Your Surgery
The day before your scheduled surgery, we’ll call and give you a time to come into the Ambulatory Surgery Unit. All of the instructions that you need will be clearly communicated to you.
The Medical Center’s Outpatient Procedure Area is another example of our commitment to excellence. Located in the southeast corner of the hospital in newly renovated suites, the private setting offers procedures in a quiet and comfortable atmosphere while your family and friends are close by.
Our aim is to provide prompt service by qualified professionals who are dedicated to performance excellence and collaboration in a compassionate environment.
After Your Surgery
Following your operation, you will be moved to an area referred to as the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). Here you will be closely monitored and cared for while recovering from your anesthesia. You will remain here until you are medically stable, your pain is managed, and the effects of anesthesia are such you are safe to be transferred to a surgical unit or discharged home.
You will be asked to rate your pain using a number scale with 10 being the worse and 1 being the least amount of pain. Any pain that you are experiencing will be managed in a caring and timely manner.
The PACU nursing staff will monitor your vital signs frequently and encourage you to breathe deeply and cough. You may receive oxygen through a mask or a device called a nasal cannula. Your physical and emotional status will be evaluated frequently.
What does "monitoring vital signs" mean?
Vital signs are facts about your health that can be measured and may change for various reasons. Brookhaven's team will monitor your vital signs (heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation and level of pain) in order to provide the best possible treatment to assure your safety and comfort.
Will I need an IV for surgery?
Almost all patients require an intravenous catheter during the perioperative period. This allows medications and fluids into your body through the vein. The IV catheter is flexible and allows freedom of movement.
Will it be cold in the operating room?
Operating rooms are kept between 68-73 degrees. We make it a priority to keep you warm during your surgery by using warming blankets and other warming devices.
Will I need to have a urinary catheter for my operation?
This is a question you may want to ask your surgeon. "Catheter" is a term used to describe a tube. Your surgeon and anesthesiologist may require a "foley" to be placed into your urinary bladder for your safety, depending on the length and type of procedure you are having. Your body makes urine, and the volume you make is a sign of the state of your health. Unless otherwise indicated, your foley will be removed by the first or second day postoperatively.
Will I have to remove my dentures?
Tell your anesthesiologist if you have dentures, partial plates or artificial or capped teeth. Depending on the type of anesthesia you receive, your dentures or plates may need to be removed for your safety. You can bring in your own container if you like, or we can provide one for you. If it is necessary to remove them, you will be asked as close to your operation as possible, and they will be returned to you as soon as you are safely awake.
May I invite my family and friends to come with me?
Yes, you may. Remember, however, that you may be anxious before surgery and tired afterward. Our surgical waiting area is close by, and family and friends will be notified when you can be seen after the operation. Visitors are not always allowed into PACU where you will go immediately after surgery. If you are returning home the same day as surgery, you will need to have someone to drive you and care for you for a period following surgery.
When will I be reunited with my friends and family?
Visitation is determined by the activity and level of acuity of patients in the PACU. Your friends and family may be allowed to visit. We encourage visitors to wait until you are out of the primary recovery area.
How long will I spend in the PACU?
This varies depending upon the type of procedure and anesthesia used. The nursing staff or the surgeon will notify your visitors when you have arrived to the PACU and will be discharged from PACU.
Will I feel nauseous when I wake up?
Nausea after surgery is due to many factors and is not uncommon after surgery. With new methods of anesthesia care and new drugs (called antiemetics) to control nausea, the likelihood you have nausea is much lower than it has been in the past. Prevention of nausea is always considered very important as part of your care.
Where do I go when I leave the PACU?
Where you go next mostly depends on the way you were scheduled for surgery. If you are scheduled to stay in the hospital overnight, you will leave the PACU on a stretcher or bed and go to the nursing unit, where you will be greeted and evaluated by dedicated staff members.
If you are scheduled as an outpatient and expect to go home that day, you will be returned to the same area where you were admitted. The same caring team will allow you to go home once they have determined it is safe to do so. You will be given all of the instructions you need to care for yourself over the next few days. We encourage your family and companions to hear this information. When you leave, you may be drowsy or unsteady on your feet, so we insist that a family member or companion takes you home.
How much pain will I be in when I wake up?
Each person feels pain differently. At Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center we are committed to the management of your pain. Our staff will obtain a pain assessment which will include:
- your description and location of your pain.
- the intensity of your pain scored on a scale of 1-10 (with 1 being the least intense and 10 being the most intense pain you have ever experienced).
- any activities which can precipitate your pain.
- if you have chronic pain, what level is a comfortable level acceptable for you.
Once evaluated, a treatment plan will be formulated and discussed with you. This treatment plan may include the following:
- positioning for comfort.
- heat or cold applications to the affected area.
- diversionary activities.
- goals to be met.
After implementation of your specific pain management plan, our staff will continually monitor your physiological and psychological response to your specific pain management plan to access its success in reaching the goal of managing your pain. The plan, implementation, assessment and reassessment will continue until the mutually agreed upon goal has been met or you become pain free.
For your planned surgery, your anesthesiologist will discuss postoperative pain management options, which may include a patient-controlled analgesia (PCA), a regional block such as epidural or a femoral block to control postoperative pain or medications. Your questions will be answered prior to the surgery in an effort to keep you well informed of your specific pain management plan.