Post Anesthetic Care Unit (PACU)

Alberta Children's Hospital

Service Description / Contact Information

Finding Us

The Post Anesthetic Care Unit is on the 3rd floor.

What to Expect

After your Child’s Surgery they will be transferred to the Post Anesthetic Care Unit (PACU) to wake up from the medicine that made them sleep through the surgery. The PACU is also called the “wake up room” or Recovery Room. During your child’s stay in PACU the nurses will closely monitor your child’s vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen level, breathing, temperature and pain) as they wake up. Nurses will help manage your child’s pain with medicine or moving them into a more comfortable position. Once your child wakes up in the PACU, they may be able to have a Popsicle or something to drink. It can take up to an hour before your child is awake in the PACU, however it’s hard to predict how long your child will be in the PACU.

Based on your child’s needs, one parent may be asked to come into the PACU. It doesn’t mean that something is wrong, it may be that your child needs your comfort and reassurance. It is not possible to have every parent in the PACU. If you do not go into the PACU, the team will make sure you and your child are together as soon as possible.

Being asked to come in to PACU depends on:

  • The needs of your child
  • How long your child will be in PACU
  • How busy the PACU is

What Parents Need to Know

If you are asked to come in to PACU to be with your child, they may be upset or not making sense, may have an IV, will be connected to monitors for the nurses to record vital signs, may feel sick, may be getting oxygen by a mask, may look puffy or swollen and may be shivering.

Speak softly and calmly. Reassure your child. If your child is sleeping, please do not wake your child. If your child is fussy, it’s ok to comfort them. Normal comfort measures may not always work and that is ok, your child may be upset and/or agitated for up to 1 hour after surgery. If you feel that your child is having pain or needs something, let your child’s nurse know; you are a partner in your child’s care.

PACU is a large open area, please respect the privacy of other patients and families.  We ask that you do not use your cell phone. If you need to take a call, please leave the PACU.

It is ok to feel emotional or upset when you see your child in PACU. If you would like to take a break or have a different family member come in to PACU please let your child’s nurse know.

If you feel faint, sick to your stomach or uneasy at any time, please sit down and tell your child’s nurse.

Family Resources