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"What to Expect at the Pre-op Clinic: A Complete Guide for Parents"

Updated: Mar 30

Preparing for Your Child's Surgery: A Step-by-Step Guide

Taking your child for surgery can be a nerve-wracking experience for both of you. Here's a breakdown of what to expect before the big day, helping you and your child feel more prepared and at ease.

Pre-Surgical Hospital Visit:

  • Facing the Unknown: Ease your child's anxiety by familiarizing them with the hospital environment. Schedule a pre-surgical tour. Seeing the sights and sounds beforehand can be calming and informative. Contact the hospital to arrange a tour specifically geared towards children.

  • Child Life Specialist: If you have any concerns about how to address your child's needs before surgery, request a meeting with a child life specialist. These specialists excel at explaining medical procedures in a way children can understand. They can also help siblings adjust to upcoming changes and express their emotions healthily.

Preoperative Clinic Visit:

  • Gear Up for Surgery: The preoperative clinic ensures your child is physically ready for surgery. Bring your insurance information and a list of all medications your child takes, including prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, herbs, and supplements. Lab tests might be conducted during this visit.

  • Meeting the Anesthesiologist: You'll also meet with an anesthesiologist, a doctor specializing in anesthesia. This meeting, often called a "pre-anesthetic check-up" (PAC), involves questions about your child's medical history, medications, and allergies. The anesthesiologist will address any concerns you have about anesthesia. Be sure to disclose any past complications your child may have experienced with surgery or anesthesia.

Getting Ready for Surgery Day:

  • Clear Instructions: When leaving the preoperative clinic, you'll receive detailed written instructions to follow before surgery. Carefully review them with the healthcare staff and clarify any doubts you may have. These instructions will likely cover:

  • Eating and Drinking: You'll be informed about fasting guidelines (when your child can't eat or drink anything) before surgery.

  • Medications: The instructions will specify whether your child can take their usual medications on the day of surgery.

  • Comfort Items: Pack any security items that bring your child comfort, such as a favorite stuffed animal, blanket, or pacifier.

  • Following Instructions Precisely: Especially important are the instructions regarding eating and drinking before surgery. Not following these instructions might lead to a delay in the procedure.

By understanding these steps and following the instructions carefully, you can ensure a smoother and less stressful experience for both you and your child during the surgery process.

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