/clinical/,/clinical/pted/,/clinical/pted/hffy/,/clinical/pted/hffy/surgery/,

/clinical/pted/hffy/surgery/7192.hffy

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UWHC,UWMF,

Clinical Hub,Patient Education,Health and Nutrition Facts For You,Surgery

Your Stay on the General Surgery Unit (7192)

Your Stay on the General Surgery Unit (7192) - Clinical Hub, Patient Education, Health and Nutrition Facts For You, Surgery

7192














Your Stay on the
General Surgery Unit






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Welcome to the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics General Surgery Unit

If you or your family has any questions throughout your stay do not hesitate to ask. Our nursing
staff and health care team are here to support you during your stay.


Table of Contents

The Surgery Unit…………………………………………………………………………………. 3
In the Hospital……………………………………………………………………………………..4
Your Health Care Team .................................................................................................................. 4
Primary Supports ............................................................................................................................ 6
After Surgery .................................................................................................................................. 6
Equipment You May Have after Surgery ....................................................................................... 6
Medicines ........................................................................................................................................ 7
Possible Complications after Surgery ............................................................................................. 8
After Surgery .................................................................................................................................. 9
Pain Control .................................................................................................................................. 10
Diet ................................................................................................................................................ 11
Constipation .................................................................................................................................. 12
Wound Care .................................................................................................................................. 13
Emotional Changes ....................................................................................................................... 14
Discharge/Going Home ................................................................................................................ 14
Activity Restrictions after You Go Home .................................................................................... 15
Important Phone Numbers ............................................................................................................ 15
Here are my Questions?? .............................................................................................................. 16



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This packet will help you learn what to expect during your hospital stay. Please read this ahead
of time to prepare yourself for what you need to do as a patient to move forward in your hospital
stay and for your discharge. You may want to review this packet a few times while in the
hospital.

The Surgical Unit

Right after surgery, you will go to the recovery room. Once your pain is under control and you
are awake, you will be moved to your hospital room. Here you will meet your nurse and nursing
assistant (NA) and get settled in. Your family and friends are welcome to visit you in the room.

When you arrive, the nurse and NA will take your vital signs (blood pressure, temperature,
oxygen levels, heart rate, and breathing rate). You may also have a sticker around one of your
fingers that is attached to a small machine to keep a constant reading of your oxygen level and
heart rate. These vital signs will be taken often during the first few hours after you arrive in your
room. Later they will be taken every 4 hours, even through the night. The nurse will listen to
your heart, lungs, and abdomen, look at your incision, and ask about your pain level.

You will be asked a set of admission questions. It may be helpful to have a family member
around who can also help answer questions, if you prefer. A nurse may have called you at home
ahead of time to ask these questions. If that is the case, you will not need to answer them again.

The usual number of days in the hospital is hard to predict for some patients. We will work with
you to help you meet all of your goals in order for you to be discharged. These include:

 Being able to eat
 Being able to move around safely
 Return of bladder and bowel function
 Reasonable pain control

If at any point during your stay your health care team feels that you need more intense care or
treatment, you may be transferred to an IMC (Intermediate Care Unit) or ICU (Intensive Care
Unit). Here the nurses and doctors will be able to keep a closer eye on you and give certain
treatments if needed.


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In the Hospital

All rooms at UWHC are private rooms with private bathrooms and showers. You can adjust the
heating and cooling to your liking in the room as well. Your family and friends are welcome to
visit you during your stay. If you’d like to learn more about visiting, ask your nurse for the
handout: Guidelines for Primary Supports and Visitors.

We provide hospital gowns for you during your stay, which we will ask you to wear. You will
be given a new gown each day or at your request. If it is more comfortable for you, you may
bring in loose fitting clothing from home and/or a bathrobe. Be aware that these may get dirty
while you are in the hospital. When you are out of bed, please wear something on your feet to
prevent falls. We provide you with non-slip socks to wear when out of bed. You may bring in
shoes or slippers if you prefer.

We will provide you with soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, razors and shaving cream,
deodorant and lotion, washcloths and towels. We will provide special soap for you to use to
reduce the germs on your skin. You should try to do as much of your own hygiene as you are
able. We will expect that you brush your teeth or do basic oral care at least twice daily. Hygiene
is the best way to prevent infection. It will become a part of your daily routine while you are
here. You may plan a time with the NA to help you with your bathing and oral care. Ask your
nurse when you may shower. This will depend on what kind of wound you have and how many
days it has been since surgery. You will not be able to take a tub bath or soak under water for at
least two (2) weeks after surgery. Before you go home, you will be doing your daily cares on
your own, or at the level you were able to before surgery.

Feel free to bring items from home that may make your stay here more comfortable, but leave
valuable items at home.

The Health Care Team

During your stay, your health care team will create a plan for you which we will update and
change as needed. You are a vital member of the team. Input from you and your family is
considered in making your care plan. We know that your stay, even one that has been planned,
can be stressful. Feel free to raise any questions or concerns to any member of your health care
team. Our goal is to help you get better and to be able to care for yourself at home.

Listed below are some of the team members you may meet.

 The attending surgeon is the doctor who directs all of your medical care.



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 The resident and interns are doctors who work very closely with your attending surgeon
and you. You can expect visits from your doctors each day to assess your progress. It is
hard to predict when your doctors will visit and visits are often brief. Try to either write
down your questions to ask the doctors or let your nurse know what your questions are so
that we can help you get your questions answered.

 Medical Students are students (future doctors) who help the doctors with your care as
well as learn from you as a patient. These students may come to see you a number of
times a day with or without the resident doctors.

 The Registered Nurse (RN) is the nurse you will see each shift. The nurse will assess
your pain, incision, and other symptoms, provide medicines, and create and follow your
plan of care. They will also teach you about your care plan and provide updates. The
nursing staff will have the most contact with you during your stay and can help you in
many ways. Feel free to ask the nurses any questions you may have, they are a great
resource to you during your stay.

 Nursing Assistant (NA): The NA may be working with your RN to help with your cares
such as walking, using the bathroom, and bathing.

You can expect to be assigned 2-3 RNs and NAs in a 24 hour day. They will check on
you about every hour during the day and every 2 hours at night. Use the white call light
by your bed to let us know any other needs, questions, or concerns you may have.

 Pharmacist: During your stay, the pharmacist will review the medicines that you take at
home and teach you about any new medicines before you go home.

 Coordinated Care Staff: The Coordinated Care Staff is a team which consists of a Nurse
Case Manager and a Social Worker. One of them will meet with you during your stay to
help arrange the safest discharge plan for you. This plan may include getting special
equipment, home health care (to help with your incision, drain or ostomy care), or
arrange for you to stay at a skilled nursing facility if needed.

 Physical and Occupational Therapists: This team will see you if prescribed by your
doctors. They will help you to become more mobile and help you to be safe and strong at
home.

 Registered Dietitian: The dietitian will meet with you to discuss the new diet for home.
This includes teaching you about foods that you will be able to eat and ones that you
should avoid.

Primary Nurse

In most cases, the nurse who admits you becomes your primary nurse. Your primary nurse is
assigned to take care of you when he or she is working. This allows for one nurse to get to know


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you and your family; help devise a plan of care in the hospital, and manage your plan for
discharge. All of the nursing staff can and will take very good care of you when your primary
nurse is not working. We make every effort to keep the same nurses involved with your care. If
you’d like to learn more about primary nursing, ask your nurse for the handout: Primary
Nursing at UW Hospital and Clinics.

Primary Supports

We are committed to a patient and family centered approach to care. YOU are the most
important part of the team. We want you to provide us with names of people that support you
and who you want involved in planning your care. Primary Supports are the people that you are
closest to.

Visiting Policy and Hours
Visiting hours are from 8am – 9pm. One visitor is allowed to stay overnight with you. If your
visitors are planning to stay overnight they must be 18 years of age or older. If you know that
your family will be staying with you, tell your nurse and we will provide your visitor with a cot
to sleep on as long as one is available. Also, visitors must have a visitors pass to allow them to
stay overnight, ask your nurse how to get a visitors pass.

Parking and Validation
One visitor can have a parking pass validated before leaving the hospital. You can have this
validated at the Admissions Desk/Information Desk during normal business hours.

After Surgery

Equipment You May Have after Surgery

Urine Catheter
You may have a urine catheter placed. The urine catheter is also called a “Foley” and will
remain in place for 1-2 days. This tube constantly drains urine from your bladder. You may still
have the urge to pass urine. If you have a full feeling, let your nurse know right away, your
catheter may need to be repositioned to allow it to drain. Once your urine catheter is removed,
we will measure your urine, by using a urinal or a “hat” placed in the toilet. Your nurse will
show you how this is done. Sometimes, patients cannot pass urine when the Foley is removed. If
this happens you may need to have a catheter put in to drain out the urine. This catheter will then
be removed immediately after draining the urine and will not be left it. Rarely we will need to
put the urinary catheter back in to drain the urine and send you home with it in place. If that
happens, the nurse will teach you how to care for your Foley at home.

Nasogastric (NG) Tube
This is a tube placed through your nose and into your stomach. It drains fluid and air to prevent
nausea and vomiting. It stays in place until your bowel begins working again. The NG tube will
be removed before you start eating. You will not go home with it.

Drains
A drain may be placed to prevent fluid from collecting in your abdomen. These drains will be
emptied every 8 hours or more often if needed. Let your nurse know if your drain fluid needs


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emptying. Sometimes, patients go home with a drain in place. If this occurs, the nurse will teach
you how to care for your drain at home. Most of the time, the doctors will remove the drain
while you are still in the hospital.

Medicines
A pharmacist will visit with you to confirm the medicines you take at home. The doctors may
decide to hold some of your home medicines until it is the best time to restart them. Nurses will
give you your medicines throughout the day. At first, many of them will be in a liquid form that
will go into your veins through an intravenous (IV) catheter. Some of the doses you take at
home in a pill form may be changed to the same amount in the IV form. Once you are able to
eat, they will be changed back to pill form.

You will likely get medicines in the hospital that you may or may not take at home. Common
medicines given are:
 Zantac® (ranitidine) or Protonix® (pantoprazole) help to reduce the amount of acid made
in your stomach to prevent stomach irritation that can cause ulcers or heartburn.
 Another medicine you will most likely take is a stool softener. Pain medicines can cause
constipation and this will help to prevent that. Please read the section about constipation
in the First Day Surgery booklet in your folder.
 Medicines are used to prevent blood clots from forming in your legs and traveling to your
heart, lungs, or brain. Heparin is the most common form used. It is given as an injection
(shot) either in the back of the arm or in the belly 2 to 3 times a day.

Let your nurse or doctor know if you have any questions about the medicines you are taking.

Compression Stockings/TEDs/SCDs/Ace Wrapping
To prevent blood clots, the doctor may order you to wear TED hose or compression stockings on
your legs while you are in the hospital. This puts pressure on the deep veins and helps with
blood flow. You will wear these stockings all day and night except for an hour during the day
when we give your legs a break. During the time you’re lying in bed, you also will wear SCDs
that provide a constant massage to your lower legs. This helps blood return to your heart. If we
are not able to fit you with the proper TED hose, your nurse will wrap your legs with ace
bandages to control any swelling you may have in your legs.

Heart Monitor/Telemetry
This is a small battery pack that has 5 electrodes with wires that connect to your chest wall. It
allows nurses and doctors to monitor your heart 24 hours a day. You will be able to move
around in the hallway, but you will have to stay on this unit. If you get too far away it will no
longer monitor your heart rhythm.


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Coughing and Deep Breathing
Your nurse will ask you to breathe deeply, cough, and use an incentive spirometer. Pain may
prevent you from wanting to take deep breaths. Deep breathing prevents pneumonia. Pain
medicine can be given to help you take deep breaths more easily.

To cough and deep breathe
1. Place a pillow over your chest/abdomen to lessen the pain when coughing.
2. Breathe in deeply and slowly through your nose. Hold it.
3. Exhale slowly through your mouth.
4. Repeat two more times.
5. Breathe in again, and hold it, and then cough.
6. Repeat every hour while you are awake.

Incentive Spirometer
1. Exhale and place your lips tightly around the mouthpiece.
2. Take a deep breath. As you breathe you slowly raise the
Flow Rate Guide between the arrows.
3. Hold it as long as you can. Try to keep, the guide as high
as you can for as long as you can, or as directed by your
nurse or respiratory therapist (RT).
4. Exhale and relax. Remove the mouthpiece and breathe out
as usual.
5. Slowly, repeat 10 times per hour while you are awake.


Possible Complications after Surgery

Pressure Ulcer is an injury to the skin and the tissue under it. It is caused by constant pressure
in one area. Pressure on a small area of skin can block the tiny vessels that supply your skin and
tissues with oxygen and nutrients. If tissue is starved for too long it begins to die causing a
pressure ulcer to form. Pressure ulcers may form on the lower back below the waist (tailbone),
hips, heels, knees, ankles, shoulder blades, back of the head, and spine. One of the most
important things that you can do to prevent a pressure ulcers is to change position at least every
two hours. If you can’t turn by yourself, your nurse will help you. Other things you can do to
prevent pressure ulcers are eating a healthy diet, moving around your room, getting out of bed,
walking in the halls, and keeping your skin clean and dry.

DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) is a blood clot that forms in the deep veins of the body, mostly
in the legs. DVTs alone are not life threatening. If the clot breaks free and moves to the lungs it
can lodge in vessels there. This is called a PE (Pulmonary Embolism). A PE is dangerous and
can be life-threatening. The risk of developing a PE is fairly low. We work to prevent DVTs or
a PE by asking you to wear TEDS, SCDs, and take frequent walks. These help to increase blood
flow in your legs and decrease your chances of a blood clot. Your doctor will prescribe a blood
thinner (heparin) that is often given as an injection into your abdomen or the back of the arm.



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Ileus is a blockage of the intestines (bowel). The ileus
prevents movement of food, fluid, and gas through the
intestines. An ileus may be caused by any type of
surgery or can be due to pain medicines. A lack of
activity also may cause an ileus. Signs and symptoms of
an ileus include
 Nausea
 Vomiting
 Stomach cramps
 Bloating
 Lack of bowel movements and gas
We treat an ileus by not letting you eat, IV fluids to keep
you hydrated, and a NG tube in your stomach to relieve
any pressure and prevent vomiting. It is important to be as active as you can while you recover
from your ileus. Activity will help your intestine to wake up. Signs and symptoms that your
ileus has healed include doctors and nurses hearing normal bowel sounds, only small amounts of
liquid coming out of your NG tube, passing gas, having bowel movements, decreased bloating, a
soft abdomen, no nausea or vomiting, and being able to eat a clear liquid diet.

Infection can occur after surgery. Here is a list of symptoms.
 Redness
 Swelling
 Drainage
 Odor
 Pain not controlled by pain medicine
 Fever over 100.4°F

An infection may require antibiotics or having your incision opened to allow it to drain. If you
have any of these symptoms, call the clinic at 608-263-7502 during normal business hours 8am-
4:30pm. Call the doctor on call 608-262-0486 after hours and on weekends.

Preventing Infection
You and your family can do a lot to prevent the spread of infection in hospitals, clinics, and
communities. Hand hygiene is the number one way to prevent the spread of germs and
infections from spreading. You should encourage your visitors and expect your health care team
members to use alcohol gel or wash their hands with soap and water before they enter your room
and after they leave to help prevent the spread of germs.

Isolation
Some patients will be placed in isolation to help prevent the spread of infection to staff and other
patients. Family and visitors must wear a gown and gloves when visiting. Ask your nurse, what
your family should wear when entering the room. Your family and visitors will also be asked to
wash their hands before entering the room and upon leaving the room.

After Surgery

The day after surgery, your nurse will write goals for the day and the plan for your hospital stay
on your white board. This will include walking and sitting in a chair which is a vital part of your


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recovery. Today, your nurse will help you to sit in a chair and will help you when you walk in
the hallway. You will be encouraged to try to walk three times a day and try to sit in the chair
three times each day. Walking helps the bowels begin moving and helps you pass gas and stool.
Walking also helps your lungs expand and improves your overall body strength. Always
remember to call your nurse for help before getting out of bed unless your nurse has told you it is
okay to do so, on your own.

Pain Control

Good pain control helps you heal faster, leave the hospital sooner, and prevent problems. Drug
and non-drug treatments can help prevent and control pain.

You will be asked to rate your pain on this scale.

0-10 Number Pain Scale
_______________________________________________________________
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
No Mild Moderate Severe Worst
Pain Pain
Possible

The goal is to be at a level that will allow you to deep breathe, eat, walk, and sleep. This may
mean that you may not be pain-free but your pain should not prevent you from being able do
these things. We need to ask you what your pain level is, so that we know how well the
medicine is working. Tell us about your pain, especially if it is not going away. Do not worry
about being a “bother”. Pain medicine may cause you to become drowsy, dizzy, or lightheaded.
You are the only one who can tell us about your pain, so be honest so we can help keep your pain
under control and manage side effects.

PCA
Some patients will be placed on Intravenous Patient Controlled Analgesia (IV PCA). This
device allows you to give your own dose of pain medicine. PCA is based on the belief that the
patient is the best judge of how much pain he is feeling and that each person may need a
different amount of medicine to relieve their pain. PCA allows you to take the medicine when
you feel like you need it.

To receive a dose of medicine, all you need to do is press the green
button. When you press the button the medicine goes into your IV.
Your nurse will let you know how often you can push your button to
get pain medicine. Normally, it is every 6 to 10 minutes. You will
only get pain medicine when the green button is lit, so you cannot
overdose with the PCA. Your nurse will check with you to make
certain you are comfortable and that you are using the pump as you
should. Please tell your doctors and nurses if you feel you cannot
control your pain. You must tell your nurse how your pain medicine is
working so they can make changes to your medicine. You will no


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longer use the PCA when your doctors feel your pain can be controlled with pills.

Epidural
During surgery, some patients will have an epidural with Patient Controlled Epidural Analgesia
(PCEA) to control your pain. Pain medicine from the pump goes through tubing into your
epidural space in your back. This pump is set to give you pain medicine continuously. You will
have a button to push as needed every 30 minutes.

If you have both an epidural and a PCA, use the epidural first. The epidural button is black, and
does not change colors when you push the button. For your safety it is important that only you,
the patient, press the button to receive the pain medicine.

Oral
Your nurse will explain to you how much medicine your doctor has prescribed for you while you
are in the hospital. Your nurse will also explain how often you can receive these medicines.
Take pain meds when pain first begins. Do not wait. Pain pills take 20-30 minutes to work. Do
not drive, operate machinery, or drink alcohol while taking pain medicine once you go home.
Addiction to pain medicine is rare, if you take the medicine as prescribed, unless you have a
history of substance abuse. If you are concerned, talk with your health care team.

Non-pharmacologic pain relief
These include relaxation, imagery, distraction, and skin stimulation, hot and cold compresses,
music, massage, and acupuncture. Ask your nurse about alternative pain therapy that is available
in the hospital. Some may include a personal cost to the patient (massage and acupuncture).

Diet

After surgery you will be given IV fluids to keep you hydrated. To keep your mouth moist, you
can use swabs dipped in ice chips and water. Nurses and doctors may listen for sounds from
your abdomen, ask if you are passing gas or stool, if you have any nausea or vomiting, and about
your appetite. This is to see if your bowel function is improving after surgery. You can expect
that your bowel function will return after a few days. The time it takes for the bowel to start
working varies with each person.

As you and the healthcare team feel you are ready, you will be allowed to eat. You will start
slowly with clear liquids. These include juice, jello, broth, popsicles, etc. You will then move
on to full liquids such as milk products, creamed soups, pudding, Boost®, protein drinks. Then,
you will move on to “real food”. For some, that will be a general diet with no restrictions on
what you are allowed to eat. The key to advancing your diet is to start out slowly. Eat only what
feels good and tastes good. If you begin to feel sick to your stomach or full, you should stop
eating and tell your nurse.

If you were on a special diet at home (Diabetes, Low Sodium, Lactose Free, etc) or have food
allergies, please talk to your Health Care Team about this to make sure we provide you with a
similar diet during your stay.

Some patients will be placed on a Low Fiber diet. This diet is suggested for surgical patients
with bowel resections and new ostomies. It helps you have fewer and smaller bowel movements


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with less pressure, cramping, and pain. Fiber in foods increases the amount of stool and gas you
produce and how often you have bowel movements. Recommended foods without fiber are
white breads (no wheat, bran or whole grains), peeled or cooked fruits (no dried fruits), cooked
vegetables (no raw vegetables), no smoothies made with fruits or grains, no seeds, and no beans.
For most patients who leave the hospital on a Low Fiber diet, the doctor will change your diet to
a general diet without restrictions at your 2-week follow up visit.

Constipation

Pain medicine can cause constipation. Pain medicine slows down bowel movements moving
through the intestine. This causes the stool to become hard. If you have hard bowel movements,
have trouble passing bowel movements, and the movements are not often enough, then you are
constipated.

Once you are home, you will need a plan to avoid constipation. Stick to the plan as long as you
are taking pain medicine. Review your plan with your doctor or nurse. Here are some things
that could be included in your plan. Some patients will be discharged on special diets, please
talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet.

ξ Eat foods that have helped you to relieve constipation in the past.

ξ Eat foods high in fiber, as long as they have been approved by your doctor. This includes
foods such as uncooked fruits, raw vegetables, and whole grains and cereals. Try prune
juice. If you are not hungry, do not force yourself to eat fiber.

ξ Drink plenty of liquids. Eight to ten 8-ounce glasses of fluid each day will help keep
your stools soft. Warm liquids often help your bowels to move.

ξ Exercise as much as you are able each day or at least every other day. Increase the
amount you walk as you can. Check with your doctor or nurse about the exercises that
are best for you.

ξ Plan your bowel movements for the same time each day, if you can. Set aside time for
sitting on the toilet.

ξ Aim for a bowel movement every second or third day rather than every day.

High fiber foods
Cereals & flours Bran cereals, whole-wheat bread, rye bread and crackers, wheat germ, corn,
cornmeal, wild rice, brown rice, barley
Fruits Fresh, canned, or dried fruits, especially those with skin or seeds (apples,
plums, pears, peaches, tomatoes, berries, raisins, and dates)
Vegetables Any raw or cooked vegetable (not overcooked) such as carrots, cabbage, peas,
dry beans, and lentils



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Stool softeners and laxatives
Many people taking pain medicine need the help of a stool softener. This alone may not work.
You may need to add a gentle laxative. Be sure to check with your doctor before taking any of
these on your own.

Your doctor or nurse may suggest taking a laxative on a regular schedule rather than waiting for
constipation to happen. There are many types and brands of laxatives, and most are over-the-
counter. Talk to your doctor about which may work best for you.

Bulk Laxatives and Fiber, like Metamucil®
Bulk laxatives and fiber medicine, like Metamucil®, absorb water and expand to increase bulk
and moisture in the stool. They are not the best to use for constipation from narcotics. They
should only be used if you are able to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.

Call your doctor before taking any stool softeners or laxatives.

Wound Care

Smoking/Tobacco and Wound Healing
Smoking or tobacco use causes blood vessels to become smaller. The smaller vessels have a
hard time carrying oxygen, nutrients, and healing factors to the wound. This can cause the
wound-healing process to take longer. Carbon monoxide is a poison from smoking and tobacco
use (such as “chew”) that enters your blood cells. This poison lowers the level of oxygen in your
blood. Smoking and tobacco use can increase the risk of an infection of your wound. Quitting
tobacco is the best choice you can make to help your incision heal faster, safer, and with fewer
problems. If you are interested in quitting, please let your nurse know. We can get you
information on how to quit smoking.

Surgical Incision
Some patients will have only steri strips (taped bandages) over their incision, while other patients
will have a stapled incision. A dressing will stay over your incision for 48 hours after surgery.
Your doctor and nurse will check your incision to make sure there are no signs or symptoms of
infection (redness, warmth, pus-like drainage, excess swelling or bleeding, pain not controlled by
pain pills, and/or temperature of 100.4°F. If you have any of these symptoms, call the clinic at
608-263-7502 during normal business hours 8am-4:30pm. Call the doctor on call 608-262-0486
after hours and on weekends.

If you have steri strips (taped bandages) on your incision, allow them to fall off on their own.

If you have staples your doctor will remove them during your clinic visit about 2 weeks after you
go home. To clean the incision, gently wash the incision with soap and water. Let it air dry. It
is okay to shower when you are at home. Soaking, swimming, or taking baths is to be avoided
for at least two weeks or until further advice from your surgeon.

Open Wound
If you have a wound that is being packed, you will receive written instructions on how to care for
your wound before you go home. We will teach you how to change your dressing while you are
in the hospital. If you are not able to change the dressing, we will teach a family member or


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friend how to change it for you. We will send you home with supplies to keep packing the
wound as ordered by your doctor. After you go home, home health care may be set up to check
on your wound and help with any needs that you may have.

Emotional Changes

You may be feeling worried, sad, angry, or scared. These and many other feelings can occur
while in the hospital. It takes time to deal with your new diagnosis, treatment, and the new
changes in your life. Every person copes in their own way. Some have found it helpful to talk
about their feelings with the people close to them and to ask for their support. Talk to your
doctor, nurse, or other members of the Health Care Team as you are comfortable. We have
resources at UW Hospital and support groups in the community that we can connect you with, if
you would find that helpful.

Discharge/Going Home

The length of your hospital stay depends on your surgery and how long it takes you to recover.
You may need to have a family member or friend learn about your home care before you leave
the hospital. You will receive prescriptions for new medicines. Please bring your insurance card
if you plan to fill your prescriptions at the hospital.

You will need a responsible person to drive you home and stay with you as needed. Your case
manager will help make plans for Home Health or a nursing home stay, if needed.

There are 6 standards that must be met before you go home. These are
ξ Be able to eat and tolerate a diet
ξ Be able to walk by yourself or move around as you did before being in the hospital
ξ Control your pain with oral pain pills
ξ Be able to pass urine
ξ Be passing gas and stool (you may have loose stools)
ξ Be able to safely take care of yourself at home or have someone able to take care of you

Once these standards are met, one of your doctors will write an order for you to be discharged.
At that point the nurse and the pharmacist will review your discharge instructions. Your
paperwork will be done, prescriptions will be written, and appointments will be made. All of
this often takes a few hours.

The pharmacist will meet with you to review the medicines you will be taking at home.

The nurse will review your discharge instructions which include:
ξ Activity orders
ξ Lifting restrictions
ξ Your diet at home
ξ Wound care instructions
ξ Follow up appointments
ξ Any special instructions
ξ Phone numbers if you have questions or concerns


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You can help in your discharge process, if you alert us early on to any special circumstances
about your discharge, such as long rides home, limits to when you can be picked up, etc.

Activity Restrictions after You Go Home

Slowly increase your level of activity. Based on your surgery you will have some activity
restrictions. Most patients will have to avoid lifting greater than 10 pounds for 2 weeks.

Make sure you are active when you go home. The best way to do this is to keep walking.
Slowly resume your normal routine. Be sure that you stay within your lifting limits. You can
find them on your discharge instructions. Check with your doctor if you are not sure if an
activity is right for you. Listen to your body. Let comfort be your guide. If it hurts, stop.

Check with your doctor about when you may:
 Resume driving. Do not drive if you are taking narcotic pain medicine. These include
Percocet®, oxycodone, Vicodin®, Tylenol® #3, Dilaudid®, morphine.
 Go back to work.
 Resume sexual activity.

When to Call the Doctor

 Unusual pain that you haven’t had before
 Pain not controlled by pain medicine
 Nausea
 Vomiting
 Severe fatigue that doesn’t go away
 Unusual drainage at the incision
 Redness at the incision site that appears to be spreading
 Fever of 100.4°F or 38°C
 Any unusual or prolonged bleeding
 Abdominal bloating/distention

Important Phone Numbers

Surgery Clinic (608) 263-7502
Colorectal Clinic (Digestive Health Center) (608) 890-5000
Outpatient Pharmacy (608) 263-1280
Hospital Paging Operator (608) 263-0486
Patient Relations (608) 263-8009
UW Emergency Room (608) 262-2398
Toll-Free 1-800-323-8942

If you think you are having symptoms of an emergency, call 911.






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Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 10/2016 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing HF#7192.


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