Mount Nittany Health Surgical Center requires that at least one parent or legal guardian accompany a child on the day of his or her outpatient surgery and must be in the waiting room at all times during the surgery.
Parents accompany their child to the pre-operative area as the child is prepared for surgery, and a nurse will get the parents as soon as the child wakes up in the post-operative recovery area.
Preparing for Surgery
Take these important steps to make sure both you and your child are ready for the day of surgery.
- Call your physician's office if your child has been exposed to a contagious disease such as chickenpox, measles, mumps, shingles, impetigo or lice up to three weeks before the surgery.
- Do not give your child any aspirin or ibuprofen for at least one week before surgery. Your child can take acetaminophen (Tylenol®).
- Follow the pre-surgery instructions listed in the patients section to prepare your child for surgery. These instructions include dietary and other restrictions that usually begin the day before the scheduled surgery.
- Give your child a bath or shower and wash his or her hair the night before surgery.
- Have your child remove all nail polish and jewelry (including any piercings).
- Collect everything you need to bring for the ride home, including a favorite toy they may keep with them as well as a blanket and pillow.
- Dress your child in loose-fitting, comfortable clothing (may include pajamas).
- Have a supply of clear liquids at home for after surgery, such as: ginger ale, apple juice, sports drinks and popsicles.
- A responsible adult is required to drive the child home following surgery. Public transportation, including taxicabs, is not permitted following surgery unless accompanied by an adult.
- You can use a blanket and pillow to make your child comfortable for the ride home, but be sure not to interfere with any safety devices on the child's car seat and/or seat belt.
- Plan to give your child clear liquids and light meals the day of surgery (unless otherwise indicated in your discharge instructions). Avoid heavy meals, especially fast food.
- Before you leave after the surgery, a nurse will give you detailed verbal and written discharge instructions, as ordered by the surgeon, and will answer any questions you may have.
Things to Bring
Make sure to bring the following items to the Surgical Center:
- Any papers provided by your child's primary care physician, including medical history, physical forms and the consent form
- Legal guardian papers (if you are not the biological parent)
- Insurance information, including authorization, if required by your insurer
- Favorite toy or security object from home (for teenagers, this could be a mp3 player)
- Preferred bottle, sippy cup or sports bottle
- Blanket and pillow for the ride home
Talking to Your Child About Surgery
Surgery can be a challenging experience for children and their parents. To help take the mystery and fear out of the process, Mount Nittany Health Surgical Center offers these tips for parents to help educate and prepare children before their scheduled surgery:
- Take a tour of the Surgical Center before the surgery. We encourage families to bring kids for tours to familiarize them with the facilities and meet our friendly staff members. The tour is conducted by a registered nurse and is focused on helping to take away the child's fear of the unknown. Children will have the opportunity to have hands-on experience with the equipment in a positive learning atmosphere. Our staff will show your kids the different areas and equipment throughout the Surgical Center and will be happy to answer any questions and explain the process fully. Brothers and sisters also are encouraged to attend.
- Talk with your child and allow him or her to ask plenty of questions. Use simple, honest language to describe the process. Remember that other children in the family may be anxious and have questions, too.
- For toddlers, only prepare them a day or so before surgery. Focus on what your child will see, hear, taste and feel. Offer some choices to give him or her a sense of control: "Which toy do you want to bring?" or "Which ear do you want the nurse to look in first?"
- For preschoolers, prepare them about three to five days in advance. Focus on what your child will see, hear, taste and feel. Use concrete examples to explain experiences: "It will hurt less than a bee sting," or "You will be asleep before you can count to 10." Offer him or her some choices. Let your child play doctor and demonstrate using a stuffed animal or doll. Reassure your child that he or she will sleep through the whole procedure.
- For elementary school-aged children, prepare them a week or two before surgery. Encourage them to ask questions and offer simple, honest answers. Take them on a tour of the facility. Let them express their concerns and fears, which are common at this age. Reassure your child that he or she will sleep through the whole procedure.
- For adolescents, talk about what is going to happen and prepare them one to two weeks in advance. Give detailed answers to questions. Take them on a tour of the facility and encourage them to ask the surgeon and nurse any questions they may have. Respect their need for privacy.