Once you've settled on a date for your child's procedure and familiarized yourself with what to expect, it's time to start planning for the big day. Here are tasks you can do in the few days leading up to your child's surgery so that you are ready to arrive at the hospital and get checked in on time.
Create a list of questions
During your pre-operative consultation with your child's surgeon or family doctor, you can bring a list of questions to help you understand your child's condition and what to expect from the procedure.
This list of questions can help you get the conversation started:
- Why is this operation necessary?
- How long will my child be in the hospital?
- How will anesthesia be given?
- Will my child need oxygen or an IV?
- How will pain be controlled?
- How will my child look and feel after the operation?
- What type of home care will my child require following surgery? For how long?
Get in touch with other parents
Talk to other parents and patients who've experienced the same procedure. They can help prepare you for what's ahead and offer the support you may need.
Make care arrangements for your other children
For overnight hospital stays, two adults may stay with the patient, but brothers or sisters may not stay overnight. Visitors under the age of 13 are not allowed in clinical areas but can wait in the waiting area if they are supervised by someone over the age of 13.
To make this easier on your family, it's best to make arrangements for your other children to stay with family or friends so you can be with your child in the hospital.
Gather important information to bring
Instead of worrying about paperwork the night before the surgery, take time in the days leading up to the surgery to collect:
- All paperwork given to you by your child's doctor(s)
- Insurance card(s) and related information
- List of medications your child is taking, including dosages
Pack a bag
Depending on how long your child will be at Children's Colorado, you'll need to pack enough to get through your stay. This could include:
- Comfortable daytime clothing
- A favorite nightgown, pair of pajamas or robe
- Slippers or shoes
- Special bottles, cups, books, toys or bedding
- Hairbrush, comb and barrettes
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo and other toiletries
- Photos of friends or family
- School books and assignments
- Glasses, contact lenses, hearing aids and dental retainers
- Children with specialized wheelchairs and/or tubes should bring appropriate supplies
- Activities for parents (books, tablets, etc.)
Whatever you decide to pack, please be sure to label personal items and clothing you bring to the hospital. We'll do our best to help you keep track of them, but it is your responsibility.
Please do not bring the following items:
- Latex or rubber balloons
- Valuables or anything of monetary or sentimental value. This could include such things as jewelry, portable music or game devices.
- Weapons of any kind. These are not allowed on any Children's Colorado property.
Each department or clinic may have specific guidelines, so ask in advance if you have any questions.
Make sure you know how to get to the hospital
Sometimes, your child's surgery may take place at a different location than the one you have previously visited to see the doctor. Make sure to check your paperwork for the exact location of the surgery, and then find driving directions and parking information for the right Children's Colorado location.
Like other visits to Children's Colorado, you will need to pre-register your child for their surgery appointment. A staff member from surgery registration will call you at least three days before your child's appointment to confirm that the necessary information is complete and correct.
Please have the following information handy:
- Your child's legal name
- Your child's date of birth
- Your home address
- The primary care doctor's name
- The guarantor's legal name, ID card, mailing address and phone number (the guarantor is the person responsible for payment of the patient's bill)
- The guarantor's insurance card policy numbers, insurance claims address and customer service phone number
- The copay amount due for the child's visit and procedures
- Parents' or legal guardians' names, dates of birth and social security numbers
- Parents' employers and work phone numbers
While on the phone with the surgery registration representative, you should also confirm the location of your child's surgery to make sure nothing has changed.
Attend your pre-operative appointment
For some procedures, your child may need a pre-operative appointment. During this appointment, you'll be able to meet the surgeon and possibly some members of his or her care team. This is a great time to ask questions about the procedure, as well as what to expect during recovery.
Your child may also need to have blood drawn or a physical exam performed so that the care team can make sure your child is ready for the day of surgery.
Monitor your child's health closely
If your child becomes sick within the week before the operation, call the surgery department. Tell your child's care team about important health changes within three weeks before surgery. These could include:
- Cold or flu symptoms
- Exposure to chicken pox, measles, strep throat or other illness
If specific symptoms related to your child's surgery or diagnosis change, make sure to update the surgeon. Your child's surgeon may want to reschedule the appointment based on how your child is doing.