Coming in for surgery
Much has been written about this. What is clear is that the more information the family has the better. This is why we encourage families to attend the pre-admission clinic (PAC), where an experienced nurse can make everything clear. It is also an opportunity to have investigations such as blood tests, x-rays and MRSA swabs. It can be a lengthy process but well-worthwhile.
Most children come into hospital on the day of surgery. They need to have had a shower or a bath beforehand, preferably using the skin cleanser provided by the hospital. This is because most of the germs that cause post-surgical infections are brought to the hospital by the patient. Strict hand hygiene is also important not just for the staff but also the families from the moment they arrive. A prolonged hospital stay exposes patients to hospital-acquired infections; these are less common but are often difficult to treat. We therefore encourage early discharge from hospital; this is made easier by seeing the families at the PAC so that discharge can be planned in advance.
Clear liquid can be taken until 2 hours prior to admission; in practice this means water. The anaesthetist may then allow some more liquid to be taken depending on the day’s schedule. Your child’s normal morning medication should be taken unless you are instructed otherwise, but it must not be taken with food. If your child has not taken his or her medication please inform the nurse. Nothing else must be taken by mouth for 6 hours prior to surgery; in practice this means 6 hours prior to arrival at the hospital.
Staying with your child:
There is always a bed for one parent or carer to sleep overnight next to the child’s cot. In the private hospitals, the child and parent have an ensuite room to themselves. On the intensive care units parents and carers have to sit in a chair but may be able to sleep on the ward where the treatment started.
Children are all different and their treatments are different, but there are some general and specific information books available, and these cover most aspects of a child’s stay in hospital. These can be provided at the PAC.
205-209 Great Portland Street
Great Ormond Street
164-178 Cromwell Rd