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Your child is having surgery. In the period before surgery, you may need to take your child to the hospital for a preop clinical visit. A health care provider will give you specific information about how to prepare your child for surgery. Be sure to ask any questions you have at this time. Knowing what to expect can help you and your child feel more comfortable about surgery.
A preop clinical visit. Your child may need to meet with a health care provider to check his or her health before surgery. During this visit, health care providers may conduct a health history, physical exam, and various tests. The health care provider will begin by asking about your child’s health history. Let the health care provider know if your child has recently been ill, has any allergies, or is taking any medications. The health care provider will also perform a physical exam on your child. This includes checking your child’s vital signs, such as temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing. If needed, the health care provider may order lab tests, such as blood or urine tests, and X-rays and imaging tests.
Meet or speak with a hospital staff member. A health care provider will give you information about preparing your child for surgery. You may receive this information while you’re at the hospital, or over the phone. A health care provider will instruct you when to stop giving your child food, drink, and medications before surgery. Someone will also tell you what to bring with you on the day of the surgery. You may receive a checklist or a handout with these instructions. You may want to prepare your own list of questions ahead of time.
Take a tour of the surgery and patient care areas. Check with hospital staff if a tour of the surgery and patient care areas is available. Schedule a tour for you and your child, if possible.
Meet with a child life specialist. Some hospitals have a child life specialist. This person is trained to help children understand what to expect during their time in the hospital. Books, videos, dolls, and toys may be used to help explain surgery. Family members are encouraged to be involved in this session. Check with hospital staff if child life services are available. Schedule a session, if possible.
Following are items that you may need to bring with you to the hospital when it’s time for your child’s surgery:
Identification information for you and your child (such as a driver’s license or social security card)
Health insurance cards
Proof of guardianship (if you are not the child’s natural parent)
Medical records for your child
List of medications your child is taking
Comfort item such as a toy or blanket for your child
Extra underwear or diapers for your child
Extra clothing for you and your child if an overnight stay or longer is expected
Books, toys, or games for your child to play with