The Ambulatory Surgical Unit (ASU) is a dynamic department that provides excellent medical care to more than 5,000 patients of all ages each year. It is the first stop on the day of surgery for both outpatient surgeries, where patients are able to return home the same day, and more complex surgeries that require hospitalization after the surgery.
ASU, also called perioperative services, covers all areas relating to patient care before, during and immediately after surgery or other invasive procedures. It is a 12 bed holding area for preparing patients and processing paperwork for surgical procedures. A team of skilled nurses, nurse's aides and technologists, specially trained in perioperative care, are the first staff members that patients see on the day of their surgery. Our pre-op routine involves a patient assessment, pre-op education and any pre-op preparations including starting IVs, administering medications, etc.
The Ambulatory Surgery Unit offers convenient parking allowing patients to easily access the unit. Family members wait in a comfortable waiting area with attractive furniture, flat panel TV's, DVD/CD players, brightly painted walls, vending machines with drinks and snacks and a consultation room where they can meet with and speak to physicians and nurses in private. The ASU hours of operation are are Monday through Friday 6:00a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Immediately after surgery, patients are moved to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) where nurses with expertise in post anesthesia assessment and airway management, neuro assessment, pain management and invasive pressure line and cardiac monitoring, provide one-on-one care until patients are ready to be moved to their room or return to ASU before going home. Our pre-op routine involves a patient assessment, pre-op education, and any pre-op preparations including starting IVs, administering antibiotics, etc. Post-op care includes monitoring of vital signs, discharge instructions, return appointments, and follow up discharge phone calls.
St. Charles Hospital provides an array of surgical procedures, all performed by experienced and compassionate physicians and staff. They include:
- General Surgery
- Gynecologic surgery
- Ear, nose and throat surgery
- Eye surgery
- Orthopedic surgery
- Endoscopic surgery
- Thoracic surgery
- Vascular surgery
- Podiatric surgery
- Urologic surgery
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I need to arrive at the hospital so early before my procedure or surgery?We ask that you arrive two hours prior to your procedure to make sure we have all of the information we need prior to your procedure or surgery. Your IV will be started and we will give you any pre-op medications your physician may have ordered.
How long will I stay in PACU?
The length of stay varies based on the surgery and type of anesthesia used. Discharge from the PACU is based on criteria, not time. This criterion includes, but is not limited to, the patient's level of alertness, level of comfort and stability. Each patient is evaluated individually. A stay in the PACU that may seem longer than expected does not necessarily indicate a problem.
Is my family member able to visit me in the PACU?
Visitation in the PACU by family is generally not permitted. An exception is made for parents of pediatric patients. The reason visitations in PACU are not permitted is to protect the privacy of patients. The PACU is considered a critical care area and is not conducive to visiting. The area is very busy and the first concern of staff is providing optimal care and privacy for the patients recuperating. Occasionally, in extenuating circumstances, visiting in the PACU may be arranged through the pre-op nurse or the volunteer at the desk. If a PACU stay is prolonged, a concerted effort will be made to bring a family member in for a brief visit.
Will my family members hear from the PACU staff?
The PACU nurses appreciate the anxiety many family members experience waiting to hear news concerning loved ones. Once the immediate needs of the patient are met, the PACU nurse will contact you in the waiting room regarding the patient's condition as well as an estimate on the length of stay in this area. You can expect to hear from the nurse within approximately one hour of the patient's arrival in the PACU. Often a volunteer is available at the waiting room desk to answer phones and assist you with any concerns. If a volunteer is not at the desk, please do not hesitate to answer the phone should it ring.
How will my family members know when it is ok to visit me?
If you are being admitted to the hospital, the PACU nurse will contact family members at the time of transfer and give them directions to the nursing unit. We ask that family members do not go to the patient's room until instructed to do so by the PACU nurse. If you are being discharged through the ASU, the nurse will invite your family member into the ASU immediately after you are transferred from the PACU. At that time, family members may stay with you until you are discharged from the hospital.
If I am being discharged the same day as my surgery/procedure how soon can I go home?
The nurses taking care of you use discharge criteria when deciding how soon to send you home. We carefully assess you and decide whether or not you have met the discharge criteria before sending you home.
We will check your vital signs, how alert and awake you are, how much pain you are having, if you are able to walk and drink fluids.
Will I experience pain after my surgery or diagnostic procedure?
Your comfort is very important to us. The nurses in PACU are experienced in pain management. You will be asked to rate your pain on a scale from 0-10. Medication will be given according to the pain scale. Our goal is to make you as comfortable as possible after your surgery.
Will my doctor talk to me after my surgery or procedure?
Your physician may not see you after your procedure or surgery however he/she will talk with your family. You will see your physician in the hospital or, if you are discharged the same day, at the time of your return appointment.
To contact the Ambulatory Surgery Unit, please call (631) 474-6441