Children's Health and Wellness

Hospital Visit/Preoperative Clinic

Can my child visit the hospital before surgery?

You may request for you and your child to visit and tour the facility prior to surgery. Touring the hospital before surgery can help your child see the sights, sounds, and events he or she will experience the day of surgery. It is a nonthreatening, often reassuring, way to learn about the hospital.

If you have questions about how to address your child's particular needs in preparing for surgery, ask if a child life specialist is available to talk to you and your family. Preoperative education for children may also be available from a child life specialist who can explain what will happen, and why, in terms your child can understand. Child life specialists can also be helpful in assisting siblings to prepare for the changes in their routine and to express their feelings about the separation from their brother or sister.

Contact the hospital for more information.

What is the preoperative clinic?

The preoperative clinic ensures that your child is ready for his or her scheduled surgery. Please bring your insurance information and a list of all medications your child is taking. If preadmission lab work is ordered by your child's doctor, it will be collected at this time. You will also meet with an anesthesiologist who will ask questions about your child's medical history, medications, and allergies. The anesthesiologist will be able to address any concerns or questions you have about anesthesia. If your child has had any problems with surgery or anesthesia in the past, please let the hospital staff know during this preoperative visit.

What will my child need to do before we return to the hospital for surgery?

When you leave the preoperative clinic, you will be given written instructions to follow. Make sure you understand all of them before leaving the clinic. Instructions will include when your child can eat or drink before coming to the hospital, and if he or she should take any of his or her usual medications. Bring any security items your child needs (such as a favorite stuffed animal, blanket, or pacifier) when returning for surgery.

Please understand the instructions about eating and drinking before surgery before you and your child leave the preoperative clinic. If your child does not follow the eating and drinking instructions prior to surgery, it will cause the surgery to be postponed.

Print Source: Textbook of Pediatric Care. Geiger, T. 2009, Part 6;Section 1;107.
Print Source: Textbook of Pediatric Care. Zuckerberg, A. 2009, Part 3; Section 4; 62.
Online Source: Who Will Hold My Hand? A Guide for Parents Whose Child Needs an Operation, American College of Surgeonshttp://www.facs.org/public_info/wwhmy.pdf
Online Source: Procedures With Anesthesia , American Academy of Pediatricshttp://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/treatments/Pages/Procedures-With-Anesthesia.aspx?
Online Source: Preparation for Pediatric Procedural Sedation Outside of the Operating Room, UpToDatehttp://www.uptodate.com
Online Editor: Geller, Arlene
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Online Medical Reviewer: Sweetwood, Jane, RN, MSN
Date Last Reviewed: 11/3/2013
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.