Why postoperative care is essential?

Stability of health is truly unpredictable, you might have all the energy today in doing your daily grind and enjoying every moment of your leisure time, however as unpredictable as the weather your health status might change without prior notice. Health issues has always been a battle to fight for every individual, fortunately evolutionary studies and researches unveiled ideal treatment and management in each specific condition. One of these is the operative procedures that has a curative, alleviative, and detective objective. Every step in this procedure bears an essential role in every individual’s health status. But the question is how vital the last step of the operative procedure is? Why postoperative care plays an essential part in the promotion of one’s health and life?

Postoperative care is a management executed to a patient right after a surgical procedure, it covers the care rendered immediately from the operating room to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit extending up to days of discharge of the patient. After the surgery is done the Anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist will hand over important endorsements to the receiving PACU nurse, such reports include the type of procedure done, length of surgical procedure time, status of the anesthesia, and the patient’s current level of consciousness. The receiving nurse should also be aware of any complications that might occur.

What are the nurse’s priorities to assess with the postoperative client?

  • Patency of Airway, maintaining patency of airway to promote adequate oxygenation.
  • Vital Signs Status, checking of vital signs as a reference of baseline data regarding the status of the patient.
  • Level of Consciousness, the responsiveness possessed after the transfer to determine improvement or deterioration of the patient.

 Other categories to consider in assessment. 

  • any notable signs of excessive bleeding
  • patency of drainage
  • level of body temperature
  • intactness and regulation of IV fluids
  • sensation and control of extremities
  • any pain and presence or absence of nausea and vomiting 

Nursing diagnosis is also done to any manageable signs and symptoms where the nurse plans for an attainable intervention of comfort and safety then reevaluate thereafter for improvement or further management if necessary.

First 24 hours postoperatively:

 The nurse must do the same routine of assessment, any untoward observation or complaint should not be disregarded. Continuous monitoring of,

  • vital signs
  • respiratory status
  • pain scale
  • operative site
  • intake and output

24 hours after postoperatively:

  • Assessment and monitoring could already be reduced in intervals.
  • vital signs can be checked every four to eight hours given the patient is stable. 
  • Incision site should be monitored for drainage and early signs of infection.
  • Manifestation of complications should also be observed, and the Doctor should be notified immediately if any of these is noted,
    • leg edema
    • redness
    • pain
    • shortness of breath
    • dehiscence of the incision or ileus

In the succeeding days after the surgery, proper wound care and dressing should be done to promote healing and prevent infection and further complication. A family member, or a healthcare professional like Home Care Nurse or caregiver is being instructed of doing proper dressing, wound care, assistance in activities of daily living, and even appropriate home diet after hospital discharge until the full recovery of the patient or if the patient could be able to do it for himself.

Provided with all the information mentioned above it is undeniably true and factual that postoperative care delivers necessary contribution in maintaining an individual’s health status. Its primary goal is to ensure positive output of recovery and good outcome as evidenced by the absence of complication during the healing state and presence of tolerable to minimal pain, furthermore effective healing process of surgical incision site should manifest. On top of all these is the return to a state of stability and regaining optimum health of the individual post operatively. 

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