The Day of Surgery

  • Do not eat or drink anything, including water, after midnight before your surgery, unless instructed to do so by your surgeon. This prevents you from vomiting and aspirating (inhaling) stomach contents into your lungs during surgery.
  • Dress in comfortable, loose clothing. A hospital gown or robe will be provided during your visit.
  • Do not bring any valuables into the hospital with you, including jewelry, money, or credit cards. The hospital is unable to accept liability for lost valuables.
  • You cannot wear eyeglasses, contact lenses, or body jewelry during surgery. We suggest you bring a case in which to store your eyewear (and contact storage solution) and remove any body jewelry and leave it at home.
  • Brush teeth, tongue, and any dental prostheses with toothpaste followed by water and mouthwash (being careful not to swallow) just before coming to the hospital.

Upon Your Arrival

  • Enter the hospital through the ACU lobby and check in at the reception desk. A volunteer or other hospital employee will escort you to your room. Depending on your scheduled procedure, you will be shown to either a surgical gurney or a reclining chair.
  • When you arrive in your assigned room, you will be asked to change your clothes and put on a hospital gown with the opening in the back. A bag will be provided for your belongings.
  • If you do not speak English, or if you have a hearing or speech impairment, you can have interpretation services provided for you at no charge. Tell the person helping you that you need an interpreter.
  • Every effort will be made to avoid delays in the surgery schedule. You will be notified if delays occur.
  • To ensure the well-being of all our patients, certain visiting regulations must be observed. Only one visitor can be with you at a time. Children under 14 are not permitted on the unit.

About Your Room

  • A nurse’s call light and telephone are located at each bedside. Your nurse will familiarize you with the call light.
  • If you wish to make a phone call, dial “9” for an outside line, followed by the number.  Long distance calls cannot be made from your phone.
  • A television is located in your room. The “Network for Health” is available on channel 3. Informative videos about surgery and anesthesia are recommended for viewing on this channel.
  • Please ask for assistance if you need to adjust your gurney bed. Visitors are asked not to sit on unoccupied gurneys or countertops. Restrooms in patient rooms are for the patient only. Inquire at the nursing station for locations of public restrooms.

Pre-operative Preparation

The nurse will take your vital signs: temperature, blood pressure, and pulse. If you have not already done so, you will need to sign a surgical consent and give medical history at this time.

Going to Surgery

  • An orderly will transport you by gurney to the Holding Room in the Surgery Department. If you have not yet seen your anesthesiologist, you will meet him or her at this time.
  • When it is time for your surgery, you will be moved to the operating room. Your length of time in surgery will depend on the procedure you are having.
  • When you go in for surgery, your family will be directed to the Surgery Lobby where they should check in with the receptionist. After your surgery, the surgeon will come to the lobby to speak with your family. Post-anesthesia recovery time varies. The main lobby receptionist will notify your family when you return to your room. Patient tracking can be viewed in the lobby and the café.

Measures to Prevent Adverse Events in Surgery

  • Every effort is made to prevent adverse outcomes in surgery. Your name and armband will be checked multiple times during your hospital visit. Your surgery consent and site will be verified and the surgery site marked, if applicable, prior to your surgery. You and your family are encouraged to be a part of the verifications.
  • Active hand hygiene is a focus to prevent surgical infection. Expect all healthcare workers and family/ visitors to wash their hands or use the provided hand gel prior to interactions with you.

The Operating Room (OR) Suite

The OR provides a safe and sterile surgical environment. The OR personnel will be wearing masks and hats. The room will be very cold and will have bright lights overhead. You will see a great deal of equipment, not all of which may be used for your procedure.

Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU)

  • After surgery, your anesthesiologist and a nurse will take you to the PACU, where the nurses will closely monitor you until you are alert and stable. You may feel a mask on your face, providing supplemental oxygen until you are awake.
  • As the anesthetic wears off, noises may sound louder than usual, and you may have blurred or double vision, a dry mouth, and chills. These are all common side effects that will subside. You may experience pain or a burning sensation at the site of your surgery. Do not hesitate to ask a nurse for pain medication.
  • A sore throat following general anesthesia is not unusual. The breathing tube in place during surgery may cause irritation.

Pain Management

  • A pain assessment scale has been developed and will be used to determine your individual pain level.
  • The nurse will aggressively assess and manage your pain level based on the numerical value on the pain level key. All medications are administered as ordered by your physician.

Transfer from PACU

When you are ready, an orderly will transfer you by gurney to your assigned room. If you are spending the night, you may be assigned a different room than before surgery.

Ambulatory Care Unit (ACU)

If you are going home the same day as your surgery, you will be returned to the ACU. Your nurse will continue to monitor your vital signs, and check your dressings and intravenous infusion (IV). We have a selection of fruit juices, 7-Up®, gelatin, soup, and crackers for your post-operative nourishment.

Your Recovery

Your healthcare provider may instruct you to do certain activities after surgery. These help prevent lung problems, blood clots, and other complications. Here are some things you may be asked to do:

Deep Breathing Exercises: Breathing deeply helps ensure that your lungs are working properly after surgery.

  1. Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose.
  2. Hold your breath for a count of three.
  3. Breathe out slowly.

Coughing Exercises:  Coughing helps clear secretions from your air passages.

  1. Hold a pillow against your body as instructed by your healthcare provider. (This helps prevent discomfort around the incision site.)
  2. Take two to three deep breaths.
  3. Cough two times.

Ankle Pumps

  1. Lie on your back with your legs slightly apart. Keep your feet straight, toes pointed up.
  2. Slowly point your feet down, then back up.

Ankle Circle

  1. Lie on your back with your legs slightly apart. Keep your feet straight, toes pointed up.
  2. Slowly turn your feet out to the sides. Then slowly turn them back toward each other.
  3. Return to starting position.

Turn in Bed and Change Positions Often

  • At first, a healthcare provider may help you move and turn in bed. He or she will teach you how to turn, change positions, sit with your legs dangling over the side of the bed, and get out of bed on your own.
  • Call for your nurse before using the restroom the first time after your surgery. You may feel dizzy or light-headed. The nurse can also give you medication if you have pain or nausea.