Your child may feel anxious coming to the hospital for an operation. To reduce some of this anxiety, your child needs to be told in a sensitive, truthful and clear manner that he is coming to hospital and the reason why. Use simple words and only explain what the child can understand.
Try to avoid telling him too soon before the date of admission. The time frame depends on the age of your child.
Younger children, under the age of 5, should be told 2 - 3 days before admission and again on the morning of admission. Children under 10 should be told 4 - 7 days before admission. Older children can cope with a longer time frame.
This gives enough time for the child to think about the admission and ask any questions. Try and answer his questions openly and honestly.
If you have a toy doctor set at home or stories about going to hospital, play or read these with your child beforehand. Let your child help you pack or prepare for the admission and choose a favourite teddy, toy or book to bring with him.
It is best if he gets plenty of rest before surgery. Ensure he bathes and washes his hair so that he will feel better when recovering. Follow the advice on fasting strictly because serious complications may occur even with small amounts of food or water in his stomach at induction of anaesthesia. For example, if his last feed is allowed at 3.00 am, wake him to give the drink, then do not let him consume anything else after that.
One parent is allowed to accompany him. After he is anaesthetised, you will be escorted to the waiting area at the reception while the surgery takes place. We advise you not to bring other children along as there is no appropriate place for them to wait as they are not allowed into the day surgery reception play area.
Different children will take different times to recover from anaesthesia. Generally you will be allowed to see him at the recovery area about 30 - 45 minutes after the surgery.
He may be sleepy, confused or fretful when he awakes. Sometimes he may vomit and occasionally he may complain of pain. The anaesthetists will be able to give him medicine to treat this. He will have an intravenous (i.v.) canula that will remain in until he is ready to be discharged.
He can be discharged once he is:
The doctor will review your child before he is discharged.
Be prepared to spend around 5 - 6 hours altogether at the Day Surgery Centre.
The whole "day surgery procedure" involves at least an hour for the anaesthetic cream (EMLA) on the hand to work before surgery and 4 - 5 hours after surgery for the child to recover fully. At peak periods, such as school holidays, it may take longer as we try to accommodate more children.
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