Patient Information



This offers information for patients who undergo sedation.

What is sedation?

Sedation is the use of small amounts of anaesthetic or a similar drug to produce a ‘sleepy-like’ state. It makes you physically and mentally relaxed during a procedure which may be unpleasant or painful but where your cooperation is needed. An example of this kind of procedure might be putting a dislocated shoulder back into its joint. 

After the procefure, you may remember something or nothing about it.

What happens when you give me the sedation?

Cannula in arm

To administer the sedation, we give you an injection in the back of your hand or arm which makes you feel sleepy and relaxed. It will also reduce any anxiety you have about your treatment.

You will not be asleep in the way you would be after a general anaesthetic.

This injection is usually painless. 

What happens while I am sedated?

The following happens while you are sedated.

  • A nurse and doctor stays with you to check your level of drowsiness and your vital signs (pulse, blood pressure, and respiration).
  • Your oxygen level is checked continuously with a device that clips onto your finger or ear.
  • Your heart is monitored by 3 leads attached to the front of your chest.
  • You will feel relaxed and may even begin to sleep. You will awaken easily and be able to talk with the doctor and nurse.
  • You will not lose control or “say the wrong thing”.

What are the risks of sedation?

Sedation is generally a safe procedure, carried out in a safe environment by trained doctors and nurses.

  • After the procedure you may feel sleepy for several hours.
  • People respond differently to sedation. Your breathing may become slow. Your doctor or nurse may give you oxygen to help you breath.
  • Your blood pressure may become lower. If this occurs we may give you intravenous fluids (put you on a drip) for a short time.
  • Some people can feel sick (nauseous) due to the drugs we use in sedation.

What happens after the procedure?

After the procedure, a nurse watches you closely until you have recovered from the effects of the sedative drugs.

We measure your oxygen level with the device attached to your finger or ear. As you recover, a nurse closely monitors your vital signs at regular intervals.

Will I be in pain after the procedure?

You may have some discomfort after the procedure. The doctor or nurse looking after you will be able to give you pain relief medication. If necessary, a supply of of painkillers will be given to you to take home.

Will I be able to go home afterwards?

The doctor or nurse looking after you will tell you whether you can go home afterwards. Sometimes the doctor can only answer this question after the necessary procedure has been performed. 

How soon will I be able to go home?

How soon you can go home depends on several things:

  • You must be awake, alert and know where you are.
  • Your blood pressure, pulse and breathing must be back to normal.
  • You must be able to drink (water, coffee, and tea) without being sick.

How long will the effects of the sedation last?

You will recover quickly from the main effects of the sedation after only a few hours. People often feel more tired than usual and have slower reactions for up to 48 hours after the sedation.

Are there any special precautions to take following the procedure?

Take the following precautions after the procedure.

Do not drive or operate heavy machinery for 48 hours.

Make sure you are accompanied home by a responsible person.

Make sure you have a responsible person to care for you for 24 hours after the procedure.

Do not drink alcohol for 24 hours.

Make sure you are not alone in charge of a baby or young child for the first 24 burs after the procedure.

Do not make any important decisions or sign any legal documents for 24 hours.

Take things easy and avoid strenuous exercise.  For example do not lift children, vacuum carpets or carry heavy shopping.

Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids and eat a light diet. Avoid heavy or greasy food for 24 hours.

What do I do if I experience problems after the sedation?

If you experience problems after your sedation, ring the main hospital switchboard (see Contacts section) and ask to be connected to the Emergency Department (A&E).

Sedation - Kingston Hospital Download PDF


Kingston Hospital main switchboard 020 8546 7711. Ask for the Emergency Department (A&E)

Translate Please speak to a member of staff before or during your visit to the hospital if you require translation.
Accessibility Please contact the Patient Experience Team on 020 8934 3850 if you need this information in a different format.
For information accessibility please visit Kingston Hospital AccessAble www.accessable.co.uk/kingston-hospital-nhs-foundation-trust
Support services

Visit the hospital website, ask a member of staff, or ring us for details.


Switchboard 020 8546 7711

  • ‘Find Us’ page for maps, transport, registering a blue badge, disabled access
  • Information, advice and support for patients and relatives (PALS) 020 8934 3993
  • Pastoral and Spiritual Support 020 8546 7711
  • Learning Disability Liaison Team 020 8934 6895
Print - Standard Size Print - Large Size


Please speak to a member of staff before or during your visit to the hospital if you require translation support to access Patient Information. Please ring the phone number on your appointment letter, if you have one.

Request More Information


Please contact the Patient Experience Team on 020 893 3850 if you need this information in a different format.
For detailed information on accessibility at Kingston Hospital visit Kingston Hospital AccessAble (https://www.accessable.co.uk/kingston-hospital-nhs-foundation-trust).

Tell us how we are doing we'd love to have your opinion