PACU: Post-Anesthesia Care Unit

Departmental Scope of Services

Post-anesthesia nursing is a specialty practice that focuses on the care of problems that may result from the administration of anesthetic agents and techniques in a postoperative setting. Care is provided to allow the patient to safely transition to the inpatient setting, critical care unit or to home.

Types of Patients Served

The units provide professional nursing care and recovery management for post-anesthesia patients under the direction of the Anesthesia department. Constant vigilance is required to meet the needs of the post-anesthesia patient. In addition, the outpatient PACU provides non-chemotherapy infusion services to ambulatory patients.

Overview of Department Services

The PACU is divided into two distinct areas:

Inpatient PACU – a 17-bed recovery unit that provides nursing assessment, intervention, and problem management to all post-anesthesia patients (Phase I and Phase III).

Outpatient PACU – is a 15-bed and four recliner recovery unit that provides nursing care to all ambulatory post-anesthesia patients (Phase I and Phase II).

In addition, ambulatory patients are day admissions for intravenous infusion care and transfusion of blood products. Ambulatory interventional radiology patients are also recovered here post-procedure.

Staffing Model

All patients are assigned to a R.N. based on patient acuity and nursing intensity. The staffing plan reflects national guidelines for perianesthesia nursing. Two licensed nurses are present whenever a patient is receiving Phase 1 level of care. Daily operations are directed by the patient care coordinator in conjunction with the Nurse Manager.

The PACU staff is highly experienced, has very little turnover, and enthusiastically welcomes new nurses. The nursing staff commits to individual goals and participates in unit administration, clinical practice, clinical education, performance improvement and peer recognition.

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