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Learning About How to Get Ready for Your Child's Surgery

How can you prepare before your child's surgery?

You can do some things that will help you and your child prepare for surgery.

  • Understand exactly what surgery is planned.

    Know the risks, benefits, and other options.

  • Tell the doctor if your child has any special needs.
  • Ask about the side effects your child might have from anesthesia.
  • Tell the doctors ALL the medicines and natural health products your child takes.
  • Help your child follow the doctor's instructions about which medicines to take or stop before surgery.
  • Follow any other instructions the doctor gave you.

How can you prepare on the day of your child's surgery?

Here are some tips about what to do at home before you leave for your child's surgery.

  • If the doctor said that your child should take any medicines on the day of surgery, help your child follow the doctor's instructions.

    Your child may need to take them with only a sip of water.

  • Make sure your child follows the doctor's instructions about when to stop eating and drinking.

    Sometimes children eat or drink something by mistake. If this happens, the surgery may have to be scheduled for another time.

  • Follow the doctor's instructions about when your child will bathe or shower before surgery.
  • Make sure your child doesn't use lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
  • If your child has contact lenses, jewellery, or piercings, make sure they are removed.
  • Get your child's favourite toy, blanket, or pacifier ready to take along.
  • Have your photo ID and provincial health insurance card ready to take with you.
  • Know when to call your doctor.

    Call if:

    • Your child becomes ill before surgery.
    • Your child eats or drinks something they shouldn't.
    • You need to reschedule.
    • You have changed your mind about the surgery.

What happens at the hospital before your child's surgery?

Here are some things you can expect before your child's surgery.

  • You and your child may talk with a child life specialist. This person can answer questions about your time in the hospital.
  • Your child's wristband will be checked. You may get a badge or wristband to wear, too.
  • You may talk to your child's doctor about the surgery. The nurse will help your child get ready.
  • The area of your child's body that needs surgery may be marked. This is to help make sure that there are no errors. Your child will be kept comfortable and safe by the anesthesia provider during surgery. The anesthesia may make your child sleep. Or it may just numb the area being worked on.
  • The doctor or nurse will tell you when you can likely rejoin your child in the recovery room. This will be as soon as possible.

What happens when your child is ready to go home?

You will get instructions about helping your child recover from surgery. This is called a discharge plan. It will cover things like diet, wound care, medicines, follow-up care, activity, and how soon your child can get back to a normal routine.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

Where can you learn more?

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