How can I prepare my child for surgery?
The Day Surgery unit offers a preoperative group program for children from ages 3to 7 years old. The program includes a puppet show, a tour of the unit and time for children to play with hospital materials. Siblings are welcome, as well. Please call 617-355-7021 for questions about the puppet show and tour, or if you and your child require an individual tour.
Can my child have anything to eat or drink before surgery?
No. General anesthesia is safest when given on an empty stomach. Surgery is likely to be canceled or postponed if the dietary guidelines are not followed. Children sometimes don't understand why they cannot have breakfast or something to drink if they are thirsty. While we are sensitive to this problem, we cannot stress enough the importance of the dietary restrictions. Please do not give your child ice chips, hard candy, gum or lollipops. For more information, please consult our day surgery instructions.
Are there things that I should notify the staff or my surgeon about?
Yes. If your child develops a cough, fever, chest cold or has an asthma attack within three days of scheduled surgery, you should call the department and let us know. If your child has been exposed to measles, mumps or chicken pox in the 21 days before surgery, please notify us as soon as you become aware of the exposure. Your child's surgery may need to be rescheduled so that other children are not at risk of catching these diseases.
I am the child's grandparent/legal guardian. May I consent for his or her surgery?
Only parents or legal guardians with proof of guardianship may give consent. Grandparents who are not legal guardians may not. If you are a foster parent or not the legal guardian please bring the phone number of the social worker or parent so that we may obtain telephone consent. We cannot proceed with surgery on a child if consent has not been obtained.
Why must we arrive at the hospital 90 minutes before surgery?
Preparations for surgery must be thorough. It takes at least 90 minutes for registration, blood tests (when necessary) and examinations by the doctors and nurses who care for your child.
Where do I go when I arrive at the hospital?
Enter the building through the Lobby and go to the Information Desk. There you will be directed to go either to the Admitting Office for a blood test or directly up to the Day Surgery unit on Main 3.
How much time can I spend with my child?
You can be with your child at all times prior to surgery. Boston Children's Hospital has an active Parent Present Induction program. When appropriate for your child's condition, one parent may be permitted, by the anesthesiologist, to enter the Operating Room to stay with your child during the start of anesthesia. Once your child is asleep, you will be escorted to the Waiting Room where the surgeon will meet you after the operation is completed. If you are pregnant, please notify the nurse or anesthesiologist. As your child wakes, you will be given an opportunity to join him in the Recovery Room. Before you leave, the nurses will give you instructions on postoperative care and answer any questions.
How will I care for my child at home?
Most of the operations performed in Day Surgery require very little physical care other than occasional dressing changes (new bandages). You may take your child home when he is stable and you are comfortable with the care required. Most children stay one to two hours after surgery.
What if I have questions once we get home?
You will be given the telephone numbers of the surgeon and the anesthesiologist on call. You may call these numbers if you have any questions. The morning after surgery, a nurse will call you to find out how you and your child are doing.