Recovery and discharge

Discharge home on the same day

  • After surgery, you will return to the Perioperative unit where the nurses will continue to monitor you.
  • You will be expected to get out of bed, walk, and go to the bathroom.
  • Once you are ready to go home, the intravenous (IV) catheter will be removed, and the nurse will review your post-surgery instructions and prescriptions with you and your family.
  • Over the next 24-72 hours, a nurse will follow-up with you to ensure that you are recovering well.

Transfer to a unit in the hospital

  • After surgery, you will be moved to an inpatient room on a surgical unit where you will continue to recover until you are cleared by the surgical team to return home.
  • The staff will encourage and help you to get out of bed the same day of your surgery. If you cannot get out of bed for medical reasons, your nurse can show you exercises that can be done in bed.
  • The day after your surgery, we recommend that you get out of bed at least three times a day (e.g., sit in the chair and walk in your room/hallway).
    • This will reduce the risk of post-operative complications and will help you regain your strength faster.
  • It is also recommended that you perform breathing exercises with an incentive spirometer (given to you by the nurse). The nurse will show you how to use this device. This will reduce the risk of post-operative pneumonia.
  • A physiotherapist and/or occupational therapist may also be consulted to assess you to provide interventions specific to your condition.

Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS)

You may be part of a program called Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS). This clinical care pathway has different elements created by your healthcare team, and the goal is to help you recover quickly and safely.

Pain management

  • Proper pain management can help with healing, sleep, and can decrease complications.
  • Pain management can consist of: cold or warm compresses, ice, positioning, and medication such as Tylenol, Advil and Morphine.
  • Do not wait for your pain level to be very high before taking pain medication because it will be more difficult to control it.
  • During your hospitalization and once you return home, it is important to keep your pain to a minimum.
  • We recommend that you take your prescribed pain medication regularly as prescribed, especially in the first couple of days after surgery, when pain is at its highest.  Watch the  video on pain management.


  • Depending on your surgery, the surgeon will order the appropriate diet for you.
  • Eating and drinking regularly will help:
    • Promote wound healing
    • Regain your energy
    • Return to normal bowel function
    • Avoid constipation

Discharge instructions  


  • Once you are ready to be discharged, the surgeon will write a discharge prescription which is reviewed by the pharmacist.
  • Your nurse will review the prescription with you before you leave the hospital.

Wounds, dressings and/or drains

  • Your nurse will teach you how to take care of your wounds, dressings or drains.
  • Depending on the wound, dressing or drain, a CLSC nurse may also help you at the request of your team.


  • Your surgeon will instruct you on the activities that you can and cannot do.

Follow-up appointment

  • You will have a follow-up appointment with your surgeon to discuss the results of your surgery, see how you are doing, and answer any questions or concerns you may have.
  • This appointment will be given to you before leaving the hospital and is usually 4 –6 weeks from the date of discharge.

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