What are the discharge criteria for discharge from the PACU?
Discharge of patients to home after surgery and anes-thesia is safest when predetermined discharge criteria are rigorously applied to all patients. Although criteria may vary somewhat from center to center, the following sum-marizes what is typically done on discharge.
· Stable vital signs for at least 30 minutes and consistent with the patient’s age and preanesthetic examination.
· Ability to swallow and cough.
· Ability to walk or return to preoperative status.
· Minimal nausea, vomiting, and dizziness allowing for the ability to swallow and retain liquids and to ambulate.
· Absence of any respiratory distress.
· Alert and oriented.
· No surgical contraindication to discharge (e.g., excessive pain, bleeding, etc.).
· You may experience sleepiness or fatigue and should not drive, operate machinery, or make any complex deci-sions until tomorrow.
· You may have a sore throat and should gargle with dilute salt water or take acetaminophen.
· You may experience muscular soreness that may also be treated with acetaminophen (this is more likely if suc-cinylcholine has been administered).
· In case of any unforeseen emergent problem, call … [provide an emergency telephone number to contact].
· An adult escort has to accompany you home. (Availability of an escort should be ascertained prior to starting surgery.)
· A member of the anesthesia care team should call the patient the day after surgery and confirm that there are no complaints and that their recovery is as expected.