After Surgery Care in the Burn Unit
What to expect after your surgery
When your surgery is done, you are moved to the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). Here you wake up from anesthesia while your nurse assesses you, checks your vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, breathing), and helps you feel more comfortable. After some time in the PACU, you are moved to the Burn Unit.
While you are in surgery and the PACU, your family and friends should wait in the Burn Unit waiting room (on the third floor, in the B lobby). Your doctors will talk with your family or significant other here to let them know how everything went during your surgery.
Your stay in the Burn Unit
- Your stay in the Burn Unit may be as short as one day or as long as a week or more.
How long you stay in the Burn Unit depends on a number of things such as:
▪ How well your pain is controlled
▪ The type of wounds or grafts you have
▪ The wound care you need
▪ The type and amount of other care you need
- After surgery, your doctors will talk with you about how long you may stay. Keep in mind, this may change based on how your hospital stay goes.
- When you arrive in the Burn Unit, your nurse sits down with you and completes your admission. To do this, your nurse asks you questions about your health. Talking with you about your health helps your Burn Team plan your care with you. Along with the nurse who admits you, you will have a primary nurse on your Burn Team. This nurse will help plan your care throughout your stay and work closely with you. A burn binder with information about staying in the Burn Unit will be given to you.
- Family, friends, and others who visit you must wash their hands before and after they enter your room. They must also wear a gown and gloves when they come into your room. Your doctors and nurses will do this too when they come into your room if they are going to touch you or things in your room.
- You may have one adult stay in your room with you overnight. Other visitors may stay in the Burn Unit waiting room or a local hotel for the night. For patients who are children, one parent or adult support person may stay in the room overnight. The Burn Unit staff can help arrange a room for other parents and family at the Ronald McDonald House. The House is a short walk from the hospital and provides van rides.
- Visitors are welcome in the Burn Unit at any time. Please keep in mind that your wound care and therapies during the day may limit your time with them.
- Visitors may give you balloons, stuffed animals, or cards. Plants and fresh flowers are not allowed in your room because they have a lot of germs. It is very important to limit the germs around you after you have had surgery.
- You may need to have wound care while you’re in the Burn Unit. If you do need wound care, it may be like the care you’re used to doing at home or in the Burn Clinic or it may be very different. You may have wound care once a day, twice a day, every few days, or not at all.
- If a skin graft is done, the skin for your graft will come from a place on your body where there is healthy skin. This area is called the donor site. Your donor site will need to have wound care done too.
- You may need to stay on bed rest for up to six days. This depends on the type of surgery you have had. Bed rest means staying in your bed at all times.
- Your nurses will help you with ways to do what you need to do (wound care, bathing, using the bathroom, or eating meals) while you stay in bed. Your nurses can also help you find books, movies, or games to pass the time while you are on bed rest.
- You may want to plan ahead and bring a book or some movies with you. You may use the free Wi-Fi internet in your room if you want to bring a laptop.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 06/05/2012
Copyright © 06/05/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7356
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