Skip to main content
Dartmouth-Hitchcock logo
Summer Flowers In This Section

Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU)

The Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) is divided into an inpatient PACU, Same Day Surgery Program, and Pediatric Perioperative Program. These units provide post-surgical and other specialized care for many thousands of patients annually. In addition to routine adult and pediatric anesthesia recovery services, the PACU provides a flexible overflow resource for Adult Critical Care, Cardiology, and Pediatric Intensive Care. The PACU is a true multidisciplinary unit, where specialties of anesthesiology, surgery, medicine, obstetrics, critical care, and a dozen other services can intersect and confer about complex perioperative clinical issues in surgical patients. It is perhaps the most dynamic clinical place in the hospital.

Patient Care

The PACU also incorporates an anesthetizing location providing specialized care for patients receiving electro-convulsive therapy, cardioversion, and other non-surgical procedures requiring monitored anesthesia care. On a typical day this anesthetizing location provides care for ten to fifteen patients.

Patient care in the PACU is provided by registered nurses and aided by specially trained unit technicians. The PACU’s management structure includes a Unit Leader and a shared governance council structure, supported by the Perioperative Management Team. The PACU staff is actively involved in peer review and other quality improvement activity including both its own and that of the Department of Anesthesiology.