postoperative management

Last reviewed 01/2018

The routine care of the post operative patient varies greatly depending on the operation; however, there are some underlying principles which may formalise thought in this area. The underlying aim is almost always comfortable, pain free recovery from the procedure.

  • monitoring, principally of pulse and blood pressure, but also of temperature, respiratory rate, urine output and level of consciousness, depending on circumstances
  • pain relief - improving sleep and psychological well being hastens recovery
  • fluid balance, which must be properly monitored with fluid charts. The effects of surgery and intravenous fluid intake should be measured with regular full blood count, urea and electrolytes.
  • beware of complications and manage appropriately
  • alteration of drug doses and route; for example, the reduction of intravenous steroid doses, the stoppage of intravenous antibiotics
  • appropriate mobilisation, which is strongly in conjuction with nursing and physiotherapy staff
  • respiratory measures, e.g. oxygen, bronchodilators and chest physiotherapy