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The Responsible Person

Every patient who has a procedure performed under sedation or general anaesthetic, and is leaving hospital within the same day as their procedure, 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.

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 while at home
  • 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 while at home, or hand over to another responsible carer
  • be available to stay with the patient for 24 hours after their procedure, if it was performed under anaesthetic (excluding local anaesthetic)
  • be available to help with medication
  • be available to help with hygiene (i.e. toileting, showering and dressing)
  • be available to help with the organisation of the household after the procedure (i.e. shopping or meal preparation)
  • seek medical help if needed (i.e. drive to doctors, telephone or call an ambulance).

Type of Anaesthesia

  • Sedation
  • General anaesthesia
  • Local anaesthesia

Subtle effects of anaesthesia can last more than 24 hours after the procedure, depending on the type of anaesthesia used. Although the patient may feel normal within the first 24 hours, their reflexes and mental ability may still 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.

For safety and legal reasons, for up to 24 hours after receiving an anaesthetic, it is important a patient does 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 instructionsprovided to you and the patient. 

Surgical/procedural instructions 

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


If the patient experiences any of the following, or if complications occur, please seek medical advice:

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


If you need more information or are in need of medical advice, please call your local Day Procedure Unit directly, or 07 3163 8111 to speak to your relevant hospitals’ emergency department.


Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: PI-CLN-400004
Last modified 09/12/2019.
Consumers were consulted in the development of this patient information.
Last consumer engagement date: 20/10/2019
For further translated health information, you can visit healthtranslations.vic.gov.au/ supported by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services that offers a range of patient information in multiple languages.
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