At Owensboro Health, we are not only achieving great results in the operating room, but we are also delivering the highest quality care before and after the surgery. As a patient in our heart program, you can count on our team to help make your recovery as smooth as possible.
We will also encourage you to get back on your feet and start regaining your independence. Plus, we understand the importance of communication, so we take the time to explain your condition and the recovery process—to you and your family—every step of the way.
At Owensboro Health, we place great emphasis on educating the patient before and after a heart procedure. The more you understand about your surgery, the smoother your recovery likely will be.
A few days before your procedure, we will arrange a time with you to come meet our team and learn how heart surgery works at Owensboro Health. You will meet with our educator, Martha Sims, who will discuss the plans set by you and your surgeon and help you set goals for your recovery.
You will have an opportunity to tour the facility, meet the nurses, and ask questions about what to expect. This session is also a time for us to make sure you are physically ready for surgery and to take care of your pre-admission paperwork. Read more about the pre-admission process at Owensboro Health.
Where To Go
On the morning of your surgery, you will check in at the outpatient surgery department, located on the second floor of the hospital. Take Elevator A through the hospital’s main entrance. When you get to the second floor, the outpatient surgery desk will be located to your left through the glass doors.
After your surgery, you will recover in the Open Heart Recovery (OHR), in a section dedicated specifically to heart patients. A well-coordinated team of nurses, respiratory therapists, and anesthesia specialists will manage your care.
After you are stabilized, you will receive 1-on-1 care from an Owensboro Health heart nurse, and that means you are in great hands. Each of our nurses is experienced in critical care procedures and has received extensive education about caring for heart surgery patients. Our nurses' expertise includes balloon pump management, respiratory monitoring, ventilator weaning, medication management, and other aspects of heart care.
But heart care is more than just technical know-how. It is also about compassion, and you will soon learn that our nurses have it in abundance! From their kind words and notes of encouragement, you will discover the spirit that makes Owensboro Health a special place to recover. Plus, you will find comfort in knowing that your family is well informed about your recovery.
The First 24 Hours
As a patient in the OHR, you will rest for most of the first 24 hours, as you will be groggy and need sleep. Our goal is to have you ready to sit on the bedside the afternoon of surgery and in the bedside chair by morning.
To help you regain your strength, we will assist your getting up for all meals, while gradually progressing your activity and mobilization. Your visitors will be allowed in, on their schedule, by calling the unit and checking with your nurse to make sure you are ready for visitors.
The day after surgery, when you are stable enough, you will be moved from Open Heart Recovery to a patient room in the Cardiac Step-down unit (CSU 3-5). This is a regular, unrestricted patient room. The average postoperative stay is 4-5 days, although it could range from two to 10 days, depending on your circumstances. Again, you will find excellent nurses who are specially trained in heart-related procedures such as monitoring heart rhythms, surgical wound care, management of chest tubes and insulin drips for hyper/hypoglycemia.
While you are recovering at Owensboro Health, we will provide educational material on the recovery process including disease management. Educational videos will also be offered to reinforce the verbal instructions and supplement the written material received in a binder that you will take home with you. We encourage you to ask lots of questions and to take an active role in learning about your condition.
Recovery At Home
After you are discharged, Owensboro Health Home Health will be available to follow your recovery in your home. This service will last for about two weeks, or until they are no longer needed. Knowing that our home health staff is there has been a tremendous source of comfort for many of our patients. It helps to have trained professionals on hand to address problems that may arise. All in all, the home environment is the ideal place for recovery, as it allows the patient to resume control of his or her day-to-day routine.
Discharged patients can also expect a follow-up call from our heart education specialist, Martha Sims, within the first week of recovery at home.
For patients who live alone and may need additional assistance during recovery, Owensboro Health offers a hospital-based transitional care unit. This unit offers patients both independence and medical supervision and can be an ideal stepping stone back to the home environment.
Where To Wait
After heart surgery, your friend or loved one will recover in the Open Heart Recovery Unit (OHR) for approximately 24 hours. During this time, you may choose to wait in the second floor waiting room, just to the right of Elevator A. When you arrive there, check in at the front desk. Let one of the volunteers know where you will be most comfortable waiting. Assigning yourself one of the twelve waiting sections will help the doctor find you should a consultation be needed.
The waiting room is equipped with a kitchen, table and chairs, recliners, computers, televisions, magazines, and wireless Internet. There is also a shower facility for overnight guests. The cafeteria is located just down the hall and offers a variety of food choices. Learn more about our amenities in our Visitor's Guide to Critical Care.
While the patient is in surgery, family members are offered a tour of the room where the patient will recover. At this time, the nurse educator prepares the family for what to expect during recovery. This is a great time for families to ask questions and to learn how they can be involved in their loved one’s care.
Another valuable resource for families is the volunteer staff at the waiting room desk. These volunteers are very knowledgeable about hospital routines. They assist the operating room staff by updating families at least once an hour while a procedure is taking place. Once the surgery is complete, the surgeon will meet with the family in the waiting room to update them on the completed procedure and what to do next.