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Your Surgery Journey: Patient Guide

Your before surgery checklist

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Do the following before your surgery to help you feel better sooner and recover faster.

The day before surgery

  • Know the time of your surgery, when you need to be at the hospital, and where you need to go when you get there.
  • Follow any instructions the Pre-Admission Clinic (PAC)​ or your surgeon gave you for your medicines (including herbal or complementary medicines).
  • Don’t drink alcohol in the 24 hours before your surgery.
  • Write the time you need to stop eating and drinking on your Eating and drinking before surgery: Patient instructions handout. This is for your safety. Having an empty stomach before surgery lowers the risk of food or fluid going into your lungs during your surgery. If this happens it’s called aspiration and it can cause serious health problems (complications). Your surgery may be cancelled if you don’t follow all the instructions you were given about eating and drinking.
  • If you were told to carb load, have clear apple or cranberry juice handy for the day of surgery. Carbohydrate loading is sometimes used to make sure your body has enough energy available while you’re in surgery. This helps your blood sugar from getting too low and is most often done for longer surgeries.
    • Pack for the hospital and make sure to bring:
      • ​​your photo identification
      • ​your Alberta Health Care card
      • all the medicines you take or a list of your medicines (including herbal or complementary medicines)
      • your continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine (if you use one)
    • Do the bowel prep (if you we​re told to do one).
    • Remove your jewelry and piercings (It’s best not to bring these to the hospital with you. Your family or friends can bring these to you if you need them before you go home. The hospital is not responsible for any lost or missing items​.)
    • Shower before bed but don’t shave the area where you will have surgery. Wear clean pajamas to bed. This can lower your chance of getting an infection during your surgery.
    • Follow all instructions the healthcare team gave you to prepare for your surgery.
Morning of surgery
  • Plan to arrive at the hospital on time.
  • Follow any instructions the PAC team ​or your surgeon gave you about your medicines (what to take and what not to take including herbal or complementary medicines).
  • Read and follow all of the Eating and Drinking Before Surgery: Patient Instructions. (See the day before surgery section above.)
  • Bring all of the things you packed for your hospital stay. (See packing list in ​​the day before surgery section above.)
  • Follow all other instructions the healthcare team gave you to prepare for surgery.

Current as of: October 7, 2022

Author: Surgery Strategic Clinical Network, Alberta Health Services