Post-Anesthesia Care Unit
Welcome to the PACU
You can play an active part in your child's recovery in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit. It is important for your child to have you to comfort him or her at their bedside, and your knowledge about your child's unique needs can help the PACU nurse better care for your child.
The PACU is a large open room with curtains separating each bedside. Please help maintain the privacy of all patients and families by remaining at your child's beside.
Food, drinks, cameras and cell phones are not allowed in the PACU.
What to expect in the PACU
The amount of time that each child spends in the PACU will vary depending on the type of procedure and anesthetic. Children may remain in the PACU for 20 minutes or
A nurse will be at your child's bedside during recovery in the PACU to make sure that he or she is comfortable and safe. Sometimes other children in the PACU are crying, and this may affect your child. Please know that we are working hard to comfort each child and family.
When children are brought into the PACU from the Operating Room they may have an intravenous line, other tubes or drains, and may be connected to monitoring devices. Children still are waking up from anesthesia, so they need to be watched closely.
It is normal for some children to look pale, puffy or swollen after surgery. Children that have had intravenous medicine may have a very itchy nose. This will go away.
Children react differently to anesthesia. Sometimes they may feel sick or vomit. Many children are given medicine to help stop this from happening. Children may have a sore throat if a breathing tube was used. This is all normal.
Helping your child in the PACU
Children wake up differently from anesthesia. Sometimes they wake up quickly and already will be awake before you arrive in the PACU. Other children sleep longer. If your child still is asleep when you arrive, please don't wake him or her up. Children often do better when they are allowed to wake up on their own.
Your presence at the bedside can be comforting. You can hold your child's hand and talk to him or her.
Sometimes children wake up shivering even though they are not cold. This is from the anesthesia. Encouraging your child to take deep breaths will help.
Young children sometimes wake up irritable and restless. This is called
"emergence delirium." They may cry, thrash, arch their backs, reach out and seem
inconsolable, even when held by their parents. This usually is not related to pain, and children usually do not remember it. Young children who have brief procedures are more likely to experience this, but it can happen at any age. Emergence delirium may be upsetting to see, but take comfort in the fact that it will go away. Sometimes it lasts 10 minutes, other times it lasts an hour or more. You can comfort your child by staying calm and speaking softly. Your child's nurse will be at the bedside with you to offer support and reassurance.
Visiting your child in the PACU
We understand that it may be difficult for you to see your child at this point in his or her recovery after surgery. If you feel that you are unable to stay in the PACU or visit your child, please know the best possible care will be provided for your child. You will receive updates on your child's condition. We will reunite you with your child as soon as possible. We will contact you in the waiting room when you can visit your child.
Occasionally, due to medical needs or safety concerns, the PACU staff may be unable to accommodate your visit. Please know that your child will be cared for and comforted during these times. We will keep you updated and informed.