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Procedural sedation ED leaflet

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  • As part of your treatment you have been given medication that relieves anxiety and helps relaxation. You may have required a strong painkiller to be administered, either by mouth or as an injection.
  • This is known as procedural sedation, medication that helps relax and/or provide pain relief whilst a procedure is being undertaken. The procedure could be the treatment of a shoulder dislocation or the applying of a plaster cast onto a broken ankle.
  • You may have experienced a short period of memory loss during the time that the sedation is working.
  • You have been kept in hospital until you recover sufficiently from the effects of the sedation and pain relief.
  • It is however possible that your judgement and/or coordination may be impaired for the next 24 hours.

What to do next?


  • Remain with a responsible adult. • Rest quietly.
  • Drink plenty of fluid and eat a light diet.


  • Drive a car or any other vehicles including bicycles.
  • Operate any machinery or appliances such as cookers or kettles.
  • Drink any alcohol or take other sedative medication and drugs.
  • Lock the toilet door, or make yourself inaccessible to the person looking after you.
  • Undertake activities involving heights.
  • Undertake sporting activities.
  • Be the sole carer for young children or dependent adults without any responsible help.
  • Sign any important documents.

When to resume activities?

  • Please use your judgement as to when to resume normal activities.
  • This leaflet only provides a general guide to the after-effects of procedural sedation. If you have any concerns following your procedure please seek medical advice.

When to seek medical advice?

  • If you experience any chest pain or shortness of breath after discharge home, please contact the department or return as soon as possible.
  • If you or your carer has any concerns either phone the Emergency Department for advice OR return to the department.
  • Please telephone your GP or NHS 111 should you have any worries or concerns following discharge from hospital.


  • For general medical advice please use the NHS website, the NHS 111 service, walk-in-centres, or your GP.
  • The NHS website provides online health information and guidance
  • The NHS 111 phone line offers medical help and advice from trained advisers supported by nurses and paramedics. Available 24 hours a day. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.
  • There are walk in and urgent treatment services at Brighton Station, in Crawley and at Lewes Victoria Hospital.


This article is intended for patients receiving care in Brighton & Hove or Haywards Heath.

The information in this article is for guidance purposes only and is in no way intended to replace professional clinical advice by a qualified practitioner.

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