Skip Navigation
Frequently Asked Questions

For the patient

How long will I have to wait before I’m called back for my procedure?
We know that the prospect of surgery is stressful, and try our best to call you to the pre-operative (pre-op) area as soon as possible after you check in. You will be prepared for surgery, which can take an hour or longer. It’s always better to have you here earlier, as your surgeon may finish ahead of schedule with another patient. Or, you may need a little extra time to ask more questions or to spend with your family before you’re ready to go to the operating suite.

Does anyone explain what to do after discharge?
We are very concerned for your health and well-being after discharge, and make it a special point to discuss at-home instructions with you and your family before you leave. This includes activity restrictions, diet, postoperative medications and other special instructions. You’ll receive a printed copy and should refer to it often. There’s also a contact phone number for your doctor; please call if you have any questions or concerns.

Will I receive a prescription for pain medication to take home with me? Can my family get the prescription filled while they wait?
Surgical patients almost always receive a prescription for pain medication after surgery. We’ll give this to you in the post-operative area. We do not have a pharmacy on-site at this time to fill the prescription, nor can we call it in for you. We ask that your family members do not leave the surgery center to fill the prescription in case the doctor needs to communicate with them.

For parents and family

Can I bring food/drinks into the waiting room or pre-op area?
In consideration of patients who have not been allowed to eat or drink before their procedures, we ask that you do not bring any food or snacks to the waiting room or pre-op area. Our special café in the main reception area serves delicious items from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. Vending machines are also available.

My child is having surgery. Can I stay with him or her until the time of surgery?
Yes, we encourage you to. Your child will be prepared in the pre-op area with family members at his or her bedside. When it’s time for the procedure, relatives can return to the waiting room.

Why wasn’t I allowed to be with my family member in pre-op before his or her surgery?
Our first priority is to get the patient ready for surgery. When possible, we allow family to visit once the patient is prepared. However, the surgeon may be ready for the patient immediately or there may be a need for sedation and monitoring where no relatives are allowed. Once the patient goes to the pre-op area, please assume that you may not see him or her until after surgery.

Why can’t I find my family member’s assigned number on the computer screen?
Geisinger uses a special computer system to keep families informed of those undergoing surgery. Our computer progress screen tracks the progress of surgical patients only. Individuals having an endoscopy or colonoscopy will generally be finished within an hour of the time they leave the pre-op area for their procedure.

How far do the pagers reach? Can I leave the surgery center to run an errand while we wait?
Pagers for waiting family members work within the building and in our parking lot. As long as we can reach you by cell phone, you may leave the property. We ask that you let the receptionist know your plans and your cell numbers and check in when you return. We ask family members of children under 18 not to leave in case they are needed to make decisions about the child’s care. 

Will the doctor talk to me after the procedure to tell me how things went?
Our endoscopy doctors see all their patients before discharge. A member of our surgical team — staff doctors, residents and physician’s assistants (PAs) — will speak with family immediately after a patient’s surgery or with the patient and family when the patient is awake.

I see the letters PACU I and PACU II on the computer progress screen. What does this mean?
PACU stands for “post-anesthesia care unit.” PACU I is the traditional recovery room where nurses and anesthesiologists monitor patients closely as they wake up. Family is not permitted in this area, as our staff is concentrating on ensuring that any pain or nausea needs are met.

Not every patient needs this level of monitoring. In the PACU II area, our nursing staff will help you get ready for discharge. This includes making sure your pain is well controlled and you’re able to eat and drink. Your family members will be given pagers; they will be notified when you’re ready for visitors.

Why can’t I go back to PACU I to be with my child after surgery?
PACU I is an open unit where both adults and children receive care. Space is extremely limited. These patients are being closely monitored as they awaken from anesthesia, and visitation is restricted for both safety and confidentiality. You will be paged immediately when your child is moved to PACU II and you can visit. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.

Why do I have to wait so long to see my family member after he or she is out of the OR? The surgeon told me it would be about 20 minutes but it’s been much longer.
Everyone responds to anesthesia differently. Some patients wake more slowly than others. Our first priority is to control the patient’s pain and treat any other side effects of anesthesia. You’ll be able to visit as soon as the patient is awake and stable.