Your child needs surgery. What’s next? We know it can be very stressful for parents when they learn their child requires surgery. Arnold Palmer Hospital has a highly trained staff of surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses technologists, child life specialists as well as other team members dedicated to providing the best care possible for your child. In addition, we want to make sure that you are informed before the day of surgery about how to prepare your child for surgery, what to expect on the day of surgery and immediately after surgery.
Information covered on this page:
When your child’s surgeon schedules the surgery at Arnold Palmer Hospital, they will notify the Pre-Admission Testing Center (PAT) located at Arnold Palmer Hospital. The Pre-Admission Testing Center will contact you to schedule an appointment either for your child to be seen at the hospital, or to complete an interview over the phone. This is a very important appointment. This usually occurs between two and seven days before your surgery date and will be scheduled at your convenience.
If you are scheduled for an in person pre-admission testing appointment, not a phone interview, the following information will apply. On the day of your pre-admission testing visit, you will pre-register with the hospital in the business office and then be escorted to the pre-admission testing area.
Preliminary tests, procedure consents, and nurse and physician health screenings will be completed. This is to ensure that we have the most up to date information regarding your child’s physical condition and we can make certain that we understand your child’s past medical history. At this time, we will develop an individualized and safe plan of care for your child.
During the pre-admission testing visit you will be asked questions concerning your child’s health history. If your child is seen by a specialist (such as a heart, lung, or brain doctor, etc.) outside of Arnold Palmer Hospital, please bring:
- A copy of the summary of your child’s latest visit.
- List of all physicians seen by your child
- List of any known allergies
- List of all medications prescribed for and currently taken by your child.
This information is important as additional testing or evaluations may be needed before the physician can perform the surgery.
If your child has ever been diagnosed with drug-resistant organisms such as MRSA or VRE, please be sure to make the pre-admission testing nurses and physicians aware.
If there is a court appointed custody or a guardianship arrangement concerning your child, please bring the appropriate legal documentation on your preregistration/ PAT day as well as on the day of surgery.
Pre-registration and pre-admission testing are very important in allowing us to provide safe and seamless care on the day of surgery and throughout your child’s admission. Please contact our pre-admission testing nurses at 321.843.8099 directly if you have questions. They can be reached Monday - Friday from 8:00 am - 5:30 pm.
Children do better with surgery and anesthesia when they are well prepared. To help prepare your child, talk honestly with them and give them information about the surgery and the hospital. For more information on preparing your child for surgery and our Project P.L.A.Y. Program please contact our Child Life Specialist at 321.841.1203. The Child Life Specialist may also be able to schedule a tour of Arnold Palmer Hospital’s surgical areas.
What to Bring:
We want to make sure your hospital stay is as comfortable as it can be.
Make sure you bring along some of your very special things from home,
- Your own special blanket, pillow, or stuffed animal
- Your own pajamas if they would be more comfortable
- Favorite snacks or drinks
- Movies and books
- List of phone numbers for family members
- Pictures of your pets or friends
- Slippers or socks
- School age patients can bring their schoolwork as needed
Kids can also visit our Kids Zone website to see what their room will look like.
Prior to surgery, the most important thing you can do for your child is to follow the feeding instructions. Eating and drinking before anesthesia can cause problems such as choking or vomiting during the procedure.
It's important to follow these rules exactly or the procedure will be delayed or cancelled.
NO food, milk, drink, candy, or gum after 11:00 pm the evening before your child’s procedure except:
- Clear Liquids - Until 2 hours before your scheduled arrival time, your child may drink only liquids you can see through, like Gatorade, Pedialyte, apple juice, or white grape juice. For example if you are scheduled to arrive at 6am then your child may have clear liquids until 4am.
- Breastfeeding - Babies may be breast fed until 4 hours before your scheduled arrival time.
- Infant Formula - Healthy babies less than 6 months old on the day of surgery may have formula until 4 hours before your scheduled arrival time. Healthy babies 6-12 months old on the day of surgery may have formula until 6 hours before your arrival time. Do not add cereal. Do not use formula that has cereal already added.
- Medications- You may still give medicine with 1-2 tablespoons of water up to 2 hours before scheduled arrival time.
A parent or legal guardian must be with the child on the day of surgery. We request that this person does not leave during the child’s stay. If a court appointed legal guardian accompanies the child, he/she will need to bring a copy of the court issued document proving guardianship.
- If your child is scheduled to go home the same day as surgery, it may be helpful to bring a small stroller.
- If your child is staying overnight, pack a suitcase with a change of clothing for yourself and your child.
- You may want to bring a favorite stuffed animal, blanket, toy, DVD player, iPod, or electronic game to help decrease anxiety before and after surgery.
- If your child uses a bottle or sippy cup, bring an empty one for use after surgery.
- Bring any forms you may need signed by the surgeon and your insurance cards.
Call the hospital at 321.841.1543 for any possible delay in arrival or for any the following reasons:
- If your child becomes ill the day of surgery
- If your child has had food or drink (except clear liquids) after 11 p.m. the night before surgery.
- If your child drinks anything, including clear liquids, less than 2 hours before you are asked to be at the hospital.
After checking in you will be escorted to the Surgery waiting area.
In the pre-operative area (pre-op), a registered nurse will be assigned to your child and will be responsible for the care of your child in pre-op. In the pre-op area, the clinical team will review all of your child’s medical information again as well and do an assessment that will include taking your child’s temperature and assessing heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels. Once you and your child are admitted into the pre-op area your child will need to change into a hospital gown and remove underwear, metal, and jewelry, (including jewelry in body piercings). If your child has long hair, side braids can keep the hair from getting tangled.
All female patients who have begun menstrual periods must have a urine pregnancy test before anesthetic is given.
Our Pediatric Anesthesiologists will take part in the preparation for surgery. Prior to surgery, you will speak with an anesthesiologist. Anesthesiologists are medical doctors who specialize in providing anesthesia to patients before, during, and after surgical procedures. Anesthesia is the practice of using gases and other medications to induce sleep during surgical procedures. Pediatric patients have special needs regarding anesthesia, our pediatric fellowship trained Anesthesiologists and Certified Registered
Nurse Anesthetists provide anesthesia to babies, children, and adolescents
When your child is taken to surgery, you will be escorted to the waiting area. There will be a Guest Services Representative in the waiting area that will assist you with any needs you may have. Your child’s surgeon will come to the waiting room after the surgery to update you.
After surgery, your child will be taken to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) to wake up from the anesthesia and a nurse will be assigned to your child. Wake up times differ for each child and procedure. A good estimate is usually 45 minutes to an hour after speaking with your surgeon. We will make every effort to keep you updated and reunite you with your child as soon as possible. Please ask the Guest Services Representative any questions you may have.
- If your child is staying in the hospital following surgery you will be able to accompany them to their room once a room assignment has been obtained.
- If your child will be going home after surgery you will be given instructions specific to caring for your child after their surgery before being discharged.