In The Hospital

Parking Drive to Christiana Hospital. Refer to the map for directions to the Hospital. Park in lots A, B or C in front of Christiana Hospital. Valet parking is also available from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. Drive into the main circle and meet the valet attendant or security personnel.

What to Do Enter the hospital’s main lobby and ask to be directed to the Surgery and Procedure Unit.

What to Expect You will be prepared for surgery in the Surgery and Procedure Unit. You will then be taken to the operating room holding area.

Family members should then go to the waiting room on the second floor. Your surgeon will call your family when the procedure is complete. If your family cannot stay, please inform the staff in the waiting room or the staff of the Surgical Spine Center.

In the operating room holding area, an IV will be started and your operation site will be scrubbed. Your operating room nurse and your anesthesiologist will interview you. They will then escort you to the operating room.

Following surgery, you will be taken to a recovery area where you will remain for about two hours. Depending on your situation, you may wake up with oxygen, circulation boots, stockings or a device on your finger to measure oxygen. During this time, pain control will be initiated and your vital signs will be monitored. You will be taken to the Surgical Spine Center where a nurse will care for you. Only one or two very close family members or friends should visit you on this day.

Pain medication is available for you throughout your stay. You will be asked to rate your discomfort on a scale of 0-10, with “0” being no discomfort and “10” being the worst discomfort possible (refer to “For Your Information,” Pain Control.) Please let your nurse know if you are experiencing any discomfort.

Your surgeon may request that you sit up and get out of bed. You may also be asked to start doing the exercises described in “In the Hospital, Exercises After Surgery”(see tab below) on the first day. This will help prevent blood clots from forming in your legs. You will also learn to use your Incentive Spirometer.

On Day 1 after surgery, you will be assisted with bathing, getting out of bed early and sitting in a recliner in your room. A member of your Surgical Spine Center Care Team will visit you. The physical therapist will assess your progress and assist you in walking in the morning. IV pain medication may be stopped and if so, you will begin oral pain medication. Group or individual physical therapy will begin in the afternoon. Visitors are welcome, preferably late afternoons or evenings. Visiting hours are 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

After Surgery On Day 2 after surgery, you will be assisted to get out of bed early. Your day will start with a morning walk, or individual physical therapy.

Days 3 through discharge are similar to Day 2 in the mornings – you will walk with the help of the physical therapy staff and be taught how to get in and out of cars. On discharge day, you will be discharged after morning therapy. The decision to go home or to a rehabilitation/subacute facility will be made collectively by you, your surgeon, other members of the Surgical Spine Center Care Team and your insurance company. Every attempt will be made to have this decision finalized in advance, but may be delayed until the day of discharge depending on your progress.

Someone responsible needs to drive you home. You will be discharged after you receive morning discharge instructions concerning medications, physical therapy, activity limitations, etc. We will arrange for equipment and physical therapy visits, if needed, through a home care agency or outpatient physical therapy. You can download a page with the Christiana Care outpatient physical therapy facilities here: “Other Information,” Rehabilitation Services. We will let you know when the physical therapist will begin visits.

Someone responsible needs to drive you or we can help you arrange for transportation. There may be a charge if a van or ambulance is used. Transfer papers will be completed by the nursing staff. After discharge from the hospital, your primary care physician or a doctor from a rehabilitation/subacute facility will be caring for you in consultation with your surgeon. Upon discharge home, instructions will be given to you by the rehabilitation/subacute staff.

When you are put to sleep for surgery (general anesthesia), your breathing becomes slower. Sometimes this can cause a small amount of fluid to build up in the lungs. Doing exercises after surgery will help clear this fluid from the lungs, and reduce the chances of getting an infection.

Deep Breathing Exercise 1. Sit up straight. Sitting on the edge of the bed usually works best. 2. Place your hands lightly on your belly. 3. Breathe in through your nose as deeply as you can. (You should feel your belly rising under your hands). 4. Hold your breath for a count of three. 5. Breathe out slowly, with your lips pursed (like you are trying to whistle). 6. Repeat every hour that you are awake for the first three days after surgery.

Coughing Exercise This exercise should be done after deep breathing exercises. If you have had surgery on your belly or chest, use a pillow or rolled towel to help support the incision. 1. Breathe in through your nose and hold your breath for a count of three. 2. Breathe out through your mouth, holding the pillow or towel tightly against your incision. Cough deeply from your belly, not your throat. 3. Repeat five times an hour while you are awake, for three days after surgery.

Leg Exercises Lying in bed after surgery can cause the body’s circulation to slow. This can cause slower wound healing and/or blood clots to form in a leg. To improve circulation, do the following leg exercises. 1. Point your leg straight out while lying in bed or sitting in a reclining chair. 2. Point your toes straight out, then point them towards the ceiling. 3. One at a time, turn your ankles clockwise and counterclockwise. 4. One leg at a time, slide your foot up the mattress toward your body. Bring it up as far as possible, bending your knee. Slide your foot back down the mattress. 5. Tighten your buttock (bottom) muscles for five seconds and release. 6. Repeat five times each hour you are awake, for three days after surgery, or until you are up and moving around.

Are you a candidate?

Contact us today at 302-733-2888; ext. 6178 to discuss your condition and schedule an evaluation.

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