Discharge Instructions

A nurse will review your discharge instructions before you leave the Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle.

Medication instructions

Your surgeon will write prescriptions for discharge medications. Be sure you understand how and when to take your medication.

Care of the incision after your discharge

Your incision will probably be covered with a sterile dressing for at least the first day. You will be shown how to care for your incision at home and you will receive written instructions for any special care. Do not put any lotions or creams on your incision unless your doctor has given approval. You will be given instruction about when you can bathe and shower.

Intravenous infusions (IV catheters or other special tubes)

Your doctor will determine the need for IV lines or other special tubes after your operation. Common tubes include catheters to drain urine form the bladder, gastric tubes to drain the stomach and surgical drains to drain an incision. Most of the tubes and IV lines will be removed before you are discharged home.

Preventing blood clots

Leg exercises can help prevent pooling of blood in your legs and the formation of blood clots. These exercises are recommended every one or two hours during the time that you are awake.

Two specific exercises are:

  • Resting your heels on the bed, point your toes down and then point your toes toward the ceiling. Repeat 10 times.
  • Rotate each foot, making a circle with your toes. First circle to the left, then to the right.

Do not drive!

Remember, whether you stay In the hospital or go home the day of your operation, you must arrange to have another person drive you home. If transportation presents a problem, please discuss this at your surgeon’s office.