The Importance of Postoperative Care and Recovery

Postoperative care is defined as the care that a patient receives following a surgical procedure. It’s an important aspect of healthcare as it encompasses all the procedures necessary for effective recovery after any type of surgery.

According to the World Health Organization, postoperative care includes recovery room orders concerning a patient’s vital signs, pain control, intravenous fluid administration, waste output, medications, and lab investigations. Most if not all of these tasks are performed by specialist nurses.

This means that proper postoperative care is affected by the nursing shortage, especially as it includes medical tasks only doable by those with the right training and qualifications. While more specialist nurses are qualifying for their BSN, it’s currently not enough to answer the high demand for them in hospitals, community clinics, and ASCs. This is why it’s crucial for medical professionals to be well-versed in the fundamentals of postoperative care, which can help streamline the whole process and better aid patients in recovery.

Postoperative Care in the Recovery Room

All postoperative care starts the moment the patient enters the recovery room. Nursing observations and monitoring complications and changes in treatment also fall within the purview of postoperative care. In addition, this also includes aftercare, which comprises methods for preventing postoperative complications that will interfere with recovery.

Deep breathing exercises and coughing, active daily exercise (if possible), and joint mobility routines all fall under aftercare. In many cases, this is when healthcare providers will provide walking aids such as canes or walkers to patients who need them. In ASCs, patient tracking boards can help ensure the proper and timely administration of this postoperative care by their staff. This can make it easier for nurses to monitor airway obstruction, hypoxia, internal or external hemorrhage, hypotension or hypertension, vomiting, shivering, and other factors that require focused care. The most important aspects of postoperative care are provided to the patient while they’re in the recovery room. However, postoperative care doesn’t stop there.

Postoperative Care at Home

Even when patients are discharged from your ASC, it’s important that they get continuing care at home so they can fully recover. This can include educational content about nutrition, exercise, medicines, mobility, pain management, mental health, and other factors that fall within postoperative care and recovery. Nowadays, patients have a variety of options in terms of getting this effective postoperative care. Many doctors and health professionals have found telemedicine or telehealth options to be particularly effective for distanced postoperative patient recovery. One Medical Passport’s Engage Video solution is another convenient option, which allows ASC staff to send educational videos to patients as they navigate recovery at home.

Apart from straightforward consultations, modern telehealth solutions include tools for online document management, scheduling and booking, and digital chart storage. With telehealth streamlining work for nurses and physicians, effective postoperative care is well within reach for recovering patients – whether in the recovery room or at home. 

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Laureen Noelle

Written by Laureen Noelle

Guest writer for One Medical Passport.