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PACU Guidelines


During anesthesia

Please do not leave the hospital. In the rare case of an emergency, we need you to be available when your child is under anesthesia. Please provide your nurse with a phone number or another way of contacting you so we can reach you during and after your child’s anesthesia.

After anesthesia

After anesthesia for a surgery, procedure, or treatment, the staff will take your child to the recovery room, also called the Post Anesthesia Care Unit or PACU. St. Jude has 5 different recovery rooms. Your nurse will tell you which recovery room your child will be placed in and its location.

After arriving in the recovery room, your child will be closely monitored while recovering from the anesthesia. Your child’s nurse will invite a maximum of two caregivers into the recovery room. If siblings come with you, please keep them contained and quiet out of respect for other patients recovering in this shared space.

During recovery

  • The staff will monitor your child’s vital signs often. Vital signs can include: temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen level, breathing rate, and pain and nausea levels. Vital sign monitoring may vary based on the area of the body where your child’s surgery, procedure, or treatment was done.
  • It is normal to feel cold while recovering from anesthesia. The staff can provide warm blankets to help keep your child comfortable.
  • The staff will give your child medicine for pain and nausea if needed.
  • Please do not touch or try to wake your child unless told to do so. Know that each child wakes up differently—sometimes alert and happy, sometimes grumpy and drowsy.
  • The recovery room nurse will give your child a light snack and drink if appropriate. If you choose to bring a snack for your child, please do not bring hot foods or meals.
  • Your child’s IV or subcutaneous port will remain accessed until discharge criteria is met.
  • Recovery time will vary depending on your child’s condition. Your child will be discharged from the hospital or transferred to a nursing unit once the recovery room staff determines your child’s status.
  • No filming, photography, Skype, or similar activity is allowed in the recovery room.

On the day of your child’s surgery, procedure, or treatment, the staff will give you discharge instructions. These will include phone numbers to call if you have concerns or an emergency.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

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