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After surgery

Post-Anesthetic Care Unit
Back to the Day Surgery Unit
Going home
Staying overnight

Post Anesthetic Care Unit (PACU)

Your child or teen will go to the PACU (or recovery room) to fully wake up after surgery. Each patient reacts differently after anesthesia. Some sleep for a long time, while others are restless and cry as they wake up. Your child or teen will stay in the PACU until he is awake, comfortable and stable. This usually takes 30-45 minutes, but it sometimes takes longer. We may be able to bring you into the PACU to see your child. Only one parent or family member can visit in the PACU at a time.

Back to the Day Surgery Unit

After waking up from the anesthetic, your child will go back to the Day Surgery Unit to rest. You’ll stay at your child’s bedside until the nurses feel your child is ready to go home. We will encourage most children and teens to have something to drink before going home, and we’ll offer popscicles, apple juice and water. How long your child stays in the Day Surgery Unit after surgery depends on the kind of surgery and how your child feels.

CHEO’s policy does not allow children and youth who have had teeth or implants removed (for example, central lines, screws) to take these items home.

Going home

If your child has had day surgery, the nurse will tell you when it’s OK to go home. Your surgeon or nurse will go over any instructions, prescriptions and follow up appointments with you before you leave.

If you don’t have a car, try to ask someone you know to drive you home, or plan to take a taxi. Taking your child home on the bus after surgery is not allowed. Keep a towel or small pail in the car, some children throw up in the car on the way home. Teens are not allowed to drive for 24 hours after having an anesthetic.

Make sure you or another responsible adult stays with your child or teen for 24 hours after the surgery. It is important to watch for any problems that could happen after surgery. Don’t plan any activities for the rest of the day, let your child or teen rest.

If your child is staying overnight at CHEO...

Your child will go to her hospital room from the PACU. One parent or caregiver can stay overnight-we have bed chairs to sleep in, and we’ll give you sheets, blankets and a pillow.

Visiting Guidelines

Parents, caregivers, brothers and sisters can visit anytime (with no more than 2 visitors at one time). Let the Charge Nurse know the names of your immediate family.

  • Other relatives and friends can visit between 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. each day, including weekends and holidays.
  • Sometimes we have to limit visits to parents and caregivers when a child is in isolation, or when we have many patients with infections in the hospital.

Not from Ottawa?

If your child or teen will be staying overnight at CHEO, other family members can stay close by in one of the reasonably priced places on the CHEO campus. Make sure to call early to reserve a room.

Manoir Ronald McDonald House of Ottawa and Eastern Ontario

Serves as a ‘home away from home’ offering fully equipped rooms reserved for families with children suffering from cancer or other serious illnesses. Your social worker, nurse or other health care team member must refer you. 613-737-5523


411 Smyth Rd. Ottawa, ON 613-733-1412 or toll free 1-800-267-4700
Offers accomodation for any family and friends of CHEO patients.

What to bring - a caregiver's packing list

CHEO mom and blogger, Chloe Girvan, wrote a helpful article on what parents should bring with them for a hospital stay. We encourage you to review it.

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