A Parent's Guide to Ambulatory Surgery

As a parent, you want your child's experience at TMC to be positive. By following the steps and suggestions here, you can make a big difference in your child's hospital experience. At the same time, you can lower your own stress and better help your child recover.


Before You Leave Home
The first step in having the best possible experience starts before you leave home. Here are some tips.
Other Surgery Resources:
  • Post Op Instructions
  • Tonsillectomy Care
  1. Follow the pre-operative instructions your physician gives you. If you don't, you may have to reschedule surgery and put your child through "surgery day" all over again.

  2. If your child's surgery is scheduled in the morning (unless you have received specific, written instructions from your physician) do not let your child eat or drink anything after midnight the day before. "No liquids" after midnight includes water.

  3. If your child is ill on the day before surgery, for example, if he or she has a fever, then call and notify your surgeon's office the day before surgery.

  4. If you are a foster parent or grandparent, bring the legal documents (proof of guardianship) with you that prove you can authorize your child's surgery.

  5. Bring your insurance information and your child's medical records. Be sure to tell us about any allergies your child has and any medications he or she is taking.

  6. Have your child dress in comfortable clothes.

  7. Bring your child's favorite blanket, toy or stuffed animal.

  8. Arrive one hour before the scheduled surgery time.

  9. Pack an activity bag so your child will have a quiet activity to do while waiting before surgery. The bag might include books to read, crayons and coloring, puzzles – whatever your child likes to do while sitting.

  10. Bring another adult with you. That way, when it's time to go home, that person can drive and you can concentrate on taking care of your child. If you are unable to bring another adult with you, please call Ambulatory Surgery before the surgery date.

Only parents or the child's guardian are allowed in the Recovery Room with a pediatric patient. We ask parents to leave their other children at home as they will not be allowed in the Recovery area and the waiting area has no provisions for children to be left unattended.

Children's Tours Available
A child's surgery is usually easier on everyone if the child visits TMC prior to the surgery. During the tour, both you and your child are welcome to ask questions. The tour takes only 10-15 minutes and is free. To schedule a tour, call 324-5370.

About TMC's Ambulatory (Same-Day) Surgery
Your child's ambulatory surgery involves four steps: reception, pre-op, surgery and recovery. When you first arrive, you'll check in and wait in a reception area. Let us know if there is anything in particular your child is afraid of, for example, surgical masks, getting a shot or wearing a hospital gown.

Next, you and your child will go to the pre-op room. In pre-op, we'll take your child's temperature and weight and attach a heart monitor to a finger or with sticky pads on the chest. Be sure to tell us about any allergies your child has. Your child will also need to change into a hospital pajamas (hospital gown).

Some children don't want to take off their clothes and change. If your child refuses, don't worry. The TMC nursing staff will work with you. For a few children, we find the best approach is to change their clothes after they have undergone anesthesia.

When it's time for surgery, your child will go to the operating room. Before surgery, your child will breath in some gas that will make him or her "sleep" during surgery. The mask used allows us to make the gas seem like it comes in a flavor, ranging from bubble gum to strawberry. Children enjoy choosing the flavor.

Next, you'll see your child in the recovery room. When your child wakes up, the medical staff will make sure everything is ok. Then it's time to help your child change back into his or her clothes, so you can take your child home.

Please pay careful attention to the instructions you are given at this time. And remember, have two adults present – one to drive and one to take care of your child on the way home.

Home Again
Once you get your child home, be sure to follow your physician's instructions. Keep in mind that your child can't go to school that day, and perhaps not for additional days.

Expect your child to be in some pain. That's normal. Your instructions will include guidelines for getting your child to tell you how much pain he or she is in. Be sure to ask your child how much and where it hurts, and follow the instructions for the pain medication your physician prescribed. If the medication doesn't help enough, call your surgeon's office.