OSF Medical Group

Postoperative Instructions

Immediately After Surgery

You may be taken to the recovery room or to the ambulatory care unit where you will be observed. When your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing are normal and you are completely alert, you may be offered some fluids to drink.

Discharge to Home

Some people are worried that they will be discharged to home too early; others fear they will be forced to stay in the hospital. The decision to send someone home after surgery depends on achieving goals after an operation. A patient must meet the following goals before they are discharged to home. They must be:

  • Alert and able to be cared for safely in their home
  • Able to keep liquids down and free of nausea and vomiting
  • Capable of urinating without difficulty
  • Under adequate pain control on oral medications
  • Discharged to a safe environment
  • Without other medical problems that would prevent discharge

If any of these conditions are not met, a patient will not be allowed to go home unless there are circumstances that could warrant discharge. If all of the goals are met, then discharge is possible.

Sometimes a patient or their family does not feel that they should go home from the hospital, even if they have met all discharge goals. Most likely, you will be given the phone number of a representative from Social Services or a Case Worker to provide additional details.

Discharge Instructions

You will be given instructions after surgery regarding your operation, activity, wound care, bathing, medications and follow-up.

It is also important to attend all follow-up physician appointments so that your healing can be monitored.

We encourage you to have a family member or trusted friend with you at the time of discharge. Sometimes anesthesia can affect your memory. In addition to written discharge instructions - which are given to all patients - a reliable family member or friend may help you remember important information after your operation.

Care At Home

  • Follow the instructions that are given to you.
  • For the first day or so, eat soft foods in small amounts. Sometimes an anesthetic or operation can result in nausea or vomiting. Make sure to keep well-hydrated.
  • Avoid taking pain medications on an empty stomach as this may cause nausea.
  • Do not drive, use power equipment or make important decisions if you are taking medications that could decrease your alertness or if you cannot move freely and without pain.
  • In most cases, you will receive a courtesy phone call from our office on the day after surgery to check on your condition. If you miss our call, please contact our office to provide a progress report. If you are staying at a relative's or friend's home, be sure to provide us with their number. Please note that the medical center's surgery department may also contact you about your condition.

Call Our Office If You...

  • Develop any unusual signs or symptoms
  • Have chest pains or breathing problems
  • Have persistent vomiting
  • Your Incision becomes red and swollen or develops drainage¬†
  • Have any questions