If you’ve been asked to care for a loved one after they undergo a plastic surgery procedure, you might feel a bit overwhelmed. It can be nerve wracking to see a friend or family member undergo elective surgery, and you might have a hard time understanding what exactly will be expected of you.
That’s why we sat down with our superstar post-operative nurse, Lori, to answer some of the questions our caregivers most need answered as they prepare for their loved one’s surgery day.
How will the person I am caring for feel when I pick them up from surgery?
The patient will come down to the main floor in a wheelchair escorted by the recovery room nurse, and they will appear anywhere from super groggy to completely awake and lucid. It really depends on the individual, and the procedure. This will be the first time you see your loved one. Caregivers are not permitted in the operating or recovery rooms but you are welcome to the call the office at any time to ask for updates on the status of the patient (so long as we have permission on the patient’s file to release information to the caller).
Patients coming down from surgery will be discharged wearing their pyjamas, robe, and slippers. They will be wearing a surgical garment under their pjs and in some cases they will have visible drains or bandages.
When and where do I go to pick them up from surgery?
When you drop the patient off at the clinic, you will be asked to keep your cell phone on and handy all day so that we can get in touch with you.
There is no set discharge time. Patients and caregivers are reminded that surgery time is just an estimate—surgery could run early or late depending on the schedule for the day.
Once the patient arrives in recovery after their procedure, you will be contacted by the recovery room nurse by phone. Even if you decide to remain in the waiting room during the patient’s procedure, we’ll still contact you by phone. The nurse will tell the caregiver the time of discharge. They will ask you to park anywhere and check in at reception when you arrive.
What level of care will I have to provide for my loved one, and for how many days?
We ask that you be with the patient for 24 hours. That is our minimum. The patient can make arrangements to have someone stay with them longer if they wish, but it’s not mandatory.
You will stay with the patient the night after their surgery, escort them to and from the washroom, help them in and out of bed, help them up and down the stairs, etc. You will also need to drive the patient to their post op visit the next day.
Some patients will have drains so you will be required to help manage the drain output. This will be reviewed with you at discharge and there is a written reference in the discharge package as well.
Will I be able to leave them at home for short periods of time to run errands such as pick up groceries?
Only outside the 24 hour mark. Caregivers cannot take half shifts at work or run errands within 24 hours of picking up the patient.
Will I have to help administer any medication?
Yes. The discharge nurse will review the post op medication routine and I will review it again at the next day visit. Everything is written down in the post op surgical package for reference.
Who do I call if we are concerned about their recovery?
Call the office if it’s within office hours. Outside that time, if you consider it an emergency, you will call the emergency hotline which will put you in contact with one of our surgeons.
I am available to patients 24/7 via email for general post op questions, reassurance, and pep talks! The first week post op can be overwhelming, not just physically but emotionally. Lots of people struggle with having to take a week in bed, and healing does take time. There are no short cuts here. But I’m available for patients via e-mail any time to discuss any concern you have, big or small! You can find me on Instagram @asknurselori