How to Prepare Yourself for Your Child’s Surgery

by Baylor Scott & White Staff on December 30, 2014

in Healthy Living

sb10069454af-001When your child is wheeled into the operating room, even if it’s just a simple procedure, it can be a scary experience for you and your child. Being prepared—emotionally and practically—can help calm your nerves and put your child at ease.

Director of nursing at McLane Children’s Scott & White, Cherri Radford, RN, MSN, CNOR offers parents tips on how to keep their cool and prepare themselves for their child’s surgery.

1. No food or drink before surgery

Several hours before your child’s surgery, they will be asked to abstain from eating and drinking so there’s no chance of inhaling the contents of their stomach while under anesthesia.

“This can be hard for parents because they have to deny their child food and drink for a period of time,” Mrs. Radford said.

The nursing director said it will help your child if you, too can abstain from eating during that waiting period.

2. Bring comfort items

It’s a good idea to bring something from home that helps ease your child’s fears about their surgery. This could be a favorite toy, stuffed animal or security blanket.

3. Know that they’re in good hands

“For a parent, the waiting for their child while they’re back in a procedure or surgery is the hardest part,” Mrs. Radford said. “Here we do our best to keep them informed as to what’s going on and provide updates every hour. Our staff is pediatric trained. Your child is in good hands while they’re with us.”

The staff at McLane Children’s Hospital Scott & White strives to reunite families as soon as possible after the procedure as soon as the child is safe and stable.

4. Have a support system

There is a limit to the number of people who can be in the room while the child is waiting to go to surgery, the director of nursing said. But, two visitors are allowed along with mom and dad and the hospital lobby is nearby and provides additional waiting space.

“So, if you have family or friends close by who can come and help you wait, that’s always a good idea,” Mrs. Radford said.

5. Consider the Bud E. Bear Pre-Operative Preparation Program

The Bud E. Bear program helps to prepare children and their parents for an upcoming surgical experience.

“It gives them the opportunity to come in with one of our child life specialists and see some equipment, take a walk around the area and meet some people they might see,” Mrs. Radford said.

The program is for children 18 months and older and helps the child feel more in control of his or her experience. It also helps them voice their concerns and have their questions answered.

6. Ask Questions

“Parents shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions when they’re visiting with the surgeon or nurse ahead of time,” she said. “No question should go unanswered. Speak up and ask.”

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