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The Responsible Person

Caring for the patient after leaving hospital

Every patient who has a procedure performed under sedation or general anaesthetic and is leaving hospital within the same day as their operation needs to be handed over to a carer (over 18 years of age). This person will be responsible for the patient’s wellbeing and recovery for up to 24 hours depending on the type of anaesthesia received.

Caring responsibilities

At any time throughout the specified time one responsible person can hand over to another. For example, the person taking the patient home from hospital does not need to be the same person as the one who cares for the patient at home.

The responsible person needs to:

  • be able to continue to provide care and keep the patient safe in their home environment
  • be available to take the patient home from hospital by car or taxi
  • be able to continue to provide care and keep the patient safe in their home environment or hand over to another responsible carer
  • be available to stay with the patient for
    • 12 hours after a procedure performed under sedation
    • 24 hours after a procedure performed under general anaesthetic
  • be available to help with medication
  • be available to help with hygiene (e.g. toileting, showering and dressing)
  • be available to help with the organisation of the household after the procedure such as shopping or meal preparation
  • seek medical help if needed (e.g. drive to doctors, telephone or call an ambulance).

Type of Anaesthesia

  • Sedation
  • General Anaesthesia

Subtle effects of anaesthesia can last more than 24 hours depending on the type of anaesthesia used. Although one may feel normal within the first 24 hours, their reflexes and mental ability may be affected without realising it. They may also feel dizzy, lightheaded, sleepy, drowsy, tired and weak. After a general anaesthetic body aches, sore muscles and a sore throat may also be present.

Therefore for safety and legal reasons for up to:

  • 12 hours after receiving sedation or
  • 24 hours after receiving a general anaesthetic

It is important that they do not: 

  • drink alcohol
  • drive a vehicle or operate machinery
  • return to work
  • make important personal/business decisions/sign important documents.

Please follow the post-operative instructions provided to you and the patient.

Surgical/procedural instructions

Specific instructions will be provided to you to assist in the care and recovery of the patient at home.

Complications

If complications occur and you need to seek medical advice or if the patient experiences any of the following:

  • persistent nausea and vomiting
  • there is unexpected persistent bleeding from the wound
  • a high fever
  • problems with breathing
  • sleepiness.

Contacts

Mater Private Hospital Brisbane is also able to provide help with any questions between hours 7 am to 8 pm Monday to Friday via telephoning 07 3163 1067.

Or contact the specific unit: ...........................................

Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: PI-CLN-400004
Last modified 22/6/2017.
Consumers were consulted in the development of this patient information.
Last consumer engagement date: 29/2/2016
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