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Hospital Visit: Preoperative Clinic

Can my child visit the hospital before surgery?

Touring the hospital before surgery can help your child see the sights, sounds, and events they will experience the day of surgery. It's a safe, often reassuring, way to learn about the hospital. Contact the hospital to schedule a tour.

Ask to speak to a child life specialist if you have questions about how to address your child's needs. This person can explain what will happen, and why, in terms your child can understand. Child life specialists can also help siblings prepare for the changes in their routine and express their feelings.

What is the preoperative clinic?

The preoperative clinic makes sure that your child is ready for their scheduled surgery. Bring your insurance information. Also bring a list of all medicines your child is taking. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and any herbs or supplements. If lab work is needed, it will be done at this time. You will also meet with an anesthesiologist. This healthcare provider will ask questions about your child's health history, medicines, and allergies. They will also 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, it is very important to let the healthcare team know during this 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. Don't hesitate to ask questions. Instructions will include when your child can eat or drink before coming to the hospital. It will also tell you if your child should or should not take any usual medicines the day of surgery. When returning for surgery, bring any security items your child needs. These could include a favorite stuffed animal, blanket, or pacifier.

Be sure you understand the instructions about not eating and drinking before surgery. If your child doesn't follow these instructions, surgery may have to be delayed.