Prolonged-stay patients in the PACU: a review of the literature

Document Type



School of Nursing and Midwifery, East Africa


The postanesthesia care unit (PACU) provides general to intensive care to immediate postsurgical patients. Patients with extensive surgeries are often kept in PACU until their condition is stabilized before shifting them to their designated wards, creating more demands on PACU nurses. A prolonged patient stay in a PACU is a crucial issue as it creates bottlenecks that may result in the slowing down of the surgical schedule, leading to dissatisfaction for surgeons, nurses, patients, and their families. A literature search was undertaken to understand the definition and causes of prolonged PACU patient stay and the impact of these prolonged stays on PACU function and flow. Limited studies discuss the impact of prolonged PACU stays on patients, families, and PACU nurses. Future research is required to explore the experiences of PACU nurses related to prolonged-stay patients.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of PeriAnesthesia Nursing