Luxury Concierge Nurses Give Plastic Surgery Recovery a Facelift

Everything to know about private duty nurses, who provide a more personalized (and pricey) healing experience post-op.

by Michelle Rostamian

July 1958: Nurse Phyllis Parsonage prepares a patient for some beauty treatment at Saint Matthew's H...
Photo by Frank Martin/BIPs/Getty Images

One-on-one pain management. Lavish surroundings. Freshly cooked meals. Welcome to the future of post-operative care, where patients are no longer just a number at a standard recovery facility—they’re the star of the show in a luxury hotel. Between evening-before apprehension and morning-of jitters, undergoing a plastic surgery procedure can be nerve-wracking. Concierge nurses (also referred to as private duty nurses) seek to end all worries the second you leave the operating table, with your recovery at the top of their to-do list. While clientele for concierge nurses typically consist of celebrities looking for discreet, around-the-clock care, business is booming among patients undergoing face lifts, mommy makeovers, body contouring procedures, and more.

Here’s everything you need to know about this luxury service, including how it compares to traditional recovery centers.

What Are Post-Op Concierge Nurses?

Post-op concierge nurses are dedicated nurses experienced in postoperative surgery care who stay with patients throughout their immediate recovery period, typically in a luxe hotel. “The nurse provides personalized attention, monitors vital signs, administers medications, assists with wound care, and addresses any concerns or discomfort the patient may have,” says Erika Maldonado, cofounder of Los Angeles-based luxury private nursing company Calicia Care. Most patients spend an average of one to three nights in the hotel with their concierge nurse.

How Concierge Nursing Works

Upon completion of the surgery and initial recovery period in the hospital or surgical center, you’ll get picked up directly from the recovery room. “We typically have a chauffeur and a nurse arrive— providing a luxury vehicle and one-on-one care from the start,” Maldonado says. You’ll then be escorted (in a wheelchair, if necessary) through a private hotel entrance, straight to your well-appointed recovery room in the hotel. Your room (which can be a standard room, suite, or penthouse, depending on your preference), will be pre-stocked with all of the supplies and equipment needed for post-operative care. “This may include medications, dressings, specialized pillows or cushions for comfort and support, and any specific medical devices or aids required for the recovery process,” explains Maldonado. Of course, since the room is situated within a luxury hotel, amenities such as high-quality bedding, comfortable furniture, entertainment options like a TV or music system, and a private bathroom are a given. From there, you just have to sit back, relax, and let your private nurse aid in your recovery.

How Concierge Nursing Aids in Successful Recovery

You could have the most skilled doctor performing your surgery, but if your post-op care is lacking and you don’t have a solid recovery plan for those first few days, you could put yourself at a higher risk of complications and less-than-optimal results. “I strongly prefer professional postoperative care for patients of mine [...] to decrease the risk of complications,” says Los Angeles-based board-certified plastic surgeon David Stoker of Stoker Plastic Surgery. “Especially when patients undergo larger operations, it is even more important to optimize care to decrease the risk of complications.”

While post-op recovery may sound easy enough for a family member or a loved one to carry out, many plastic surgeons advise against this. “The immediate postoperative period is one of the most challenging and potentially stressful times for a family member to assist with the patient,” Dr. Stoker says. “Family members are often not trained medical professionals, and despite their best efforts, they may not be aware of potential problems.” Dr. Stoker adds that post-op nurses are also able to provide access to medical equipment and remedies, like intravenous or intramuscular medications, supplemental oxygen, and urinary catheters.

Another reason why you may not want to recover at home? Privacy. “After facial surgeries, patients may experience visible signs of surgery including bruising, swelling, and bandages,” says Maldonado. “Some may prefer to keep their recovery private and avoid having family or friends see them immediately after the procedure.” Patients undergoing a mommy makeover (which can involve a breast augmentation or lift, tummy tuck, and liposuction) may also seek out the help of a concierge nurse. “Mommy makeover patients are our top bookings, as recovering from these surgeries while taking care of a child can be challenging,” Maldonado addds.

The Benefits of Concierge Nursing Over Recovery Centers

So, how does concierge nursing differ from a recovery center? For one, there are no ratios to worry about when it comes to concierge nursing. “Most post-op centers have ratios of three to one or even four to one,” Maldonado says. With concierge nursing, the patient has one dedicated nurse who will monitor them, assist with pain management, and care for wounds and any surgery tubes. Also, because recovery centers are often managing several patients at once, this can mean they’re having to keep track of different protocols from different surgeons. A concierge nurse, on the other hand, keeps in close contact with only your surgeon’s office for seamless transfer of medical information and care.

A private duty nurse will also typically go beyond meeting a patient’s medical needs to make for an enhanced recovery experience. For instance, Maldonado and her team at Calicia Care cater to patients on an individual basis by providing additional services beyond essential post-operative care. “This could mean enlisting the expertise of a shaman, feng shui expert, masseur, or acupuncturist as well as arranging for an in-room lymphatic massage or hiring a private chef to prepare meals for the patient and their pets,” says Maldonado.

When it comes to food, Maldonado explains that recovery centers often offer standardized meal options that may lack variety or cater to specific dietary preferences or restrictions. “This can be a drawback for patients who desire more personalized or gourmet meals as part of their recovery experience,” she says. “We carefully select our menu and are happy to provide options from our patients’ favorite restaurants upon request.”

Finally, Maldonado explains that many patients find recovering in a first-in-class hotel room more comfortable. “Our patients enjoy having upscale amenities that help to create a soothing atmosphere, such as luxurious bedding, fully furnished rooms, and tasteful decor,” she says. “We also have the ability to customize the surroundings to the patient’s preferences to help them feel more at ease and promote a positive emotional state.” This could mean rearranging the furniture or ensuring their favorite show is displayed on the television upon arrival.

All in all, concierge nursing ensures everything about your immediate recovery is taken care of from start to finish, from the nuances of coordinating transfer and keeping tabs on medication logs to individualized pain management and maximum comfort that can help facilitate the recovery process. “We’ve found that patients in a hotel recovery setting appreciate the attention to detail, customized services, and the feeling of being treated as a valued guest rather than a patient in a clinical setting.”

Cost of Concierge Nurses

Like most cosmetic surgeries, concierge nurses are an out-of-pocket expense. While the cost will vary depending on where services will be rendered and the patient’s needs, you can expect to pay between $2,000 to $3,000 per 24 hours. There are ways to cut this cost down—for instance, opting for a smaller room type and choosing to recover with a concierge nurse at home versus in a luxury hotel setting.

Ultimately, this type of service is best for those who can afford to not risk a less-than-seamless recovery—especially if they’re undergoing an invasive procedure. Take a facelift, for instance. Dr. Stoker notes that small changes in patient positioning after this delicate surgery might impact the final result. “After investing time, resources, and trust in undergoing a major cosmetic surgical procedure, it is important to have optimal postoperative care to achieve the best results,” he says.

Where to Find Concierge Nurses

“The availability of luxury post-op services can vary depending on the location and the health care infrastructure of a particular city or region,” Maldonado says. “Generally, larger cities with a thriving plastic surgery industry and a higher demand for these services are more likely to have a wider range of options available.” Maldonado calls out metropolitan areas with prominent medical centers and a concentration of plastic surgeons as having a higher likelihood of luxury post-op service providers. You’ll likely find such services in cities like Los Angeles, New York, and Miami, all of which are known for their cosmetic surgery tourism or renowned medical facilities, Maldonado adds.