Q: What is the best way to improve care and focus on patient safety for a patient transferred directly from the operating room to the intensive care unit?

A: Roberta Kaplow, RN, PhD, AOCNS, CCRN, CCNS, replies:

On the basis of the physician’s preference or the intraoperative course, patients may be admitted directly from the operating room to the intensive care unit (ICU). Therefore, ICU nurses must be familiar with standards of care for patients in the immediate postoperative period, anesthetic agents, and management of potential complications. By focusing on the following aspects of postanesthesia care, patient safety and optimal outcomes can be achieved.

As with other ICU admissions, patients are attached to monitoring equipment and hand-off communication occurs. A comprehensive assessment is then performed. All relevant data are collected, as defined by critical care nursing standards. Vital signs are recorded every 5 minutes for 20 minutes, then every 15...

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