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a. The recovery room is sometimes referred to as the postanesthetic room (PR) or anesthetic room (AR). It is a special nursing unit that accommodates a group of patients who have just undergone major or minor surgery.

b. The purpose of a recovery room is to provide direct and continuous patient observation during emergence from general or regional anesthesia.

c. The recovery room and surgical intensive care unit are used mainly for the same general purpose; that is, to accommodate a group of patients who have undergone surgery and need close observation and prompt care in the event of sudden complications. However, there is a difference between the two.

(1) Recovery room. The recovery room generally supports patients for a few hours until they have recovered from the anesthesia.

(2) Surgical intensive care unit. The surgical intensive care unit supports patients for a prolonged stay. This stay can be from 24 hours to months (in the worst cases). Additionally, this unit recovers patients from anesthesia after hours when the recovery room is closed.

d. The practical nurse responsibility for the care of a patient in the recovery room is to prevent complications, detect early complications, relieve patient's discomfort, support patients through their state of dependence to independence, and closely monitor the patient's condition.

e. The recovery room (see Figure 3-1) should be quiet, clean, and free of unnecessary equipment. This room should have:

Figure 3-1. Typical recovery room.

(1) Walls and ceiling painted in soft pleasing colors.

(2) Indirect lighting.

(3) Sound proof ceiling.

(4) Equipment that controls or eliminates noises.

(5) Isolated quarters for noisy patients.


David L. Heiserman, Editor

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All Rights Reserved

Revised: June 06, 2015