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 Preparing for Admission

We know that coming to the hospital for surgery is a big event for you and your child. Take the time to talk together before coming – it will help prepare both you and your child.

Talk to your Child

Here are some tips to help your child feel safer about their upcoming surgery and hospitalization:

  • Take the time to listen to your child and let them express their feelings about the upcoming surgery. Plan for some quiet time together.
  • Be honest about what will happen, all the while reassuring them.
  • Use short, simple words or sentences appropriate for your child’s level of understanding.
  • Reassure your child that if something hurts, there are ways to help the pain, including medicine, relaxation, listening to music and playing games.
  • Ask your child to pick out a favourite stuffed animal, book, or some music to bring to the hospital.
  • Encourage your child to ask questions and talk about their fears or worries.
  • Stay with your child if possible. If so, reassure your child that the Stollery has beds for parents to sleep beside their children on the ward. If you can’t stay, reassure your child that you will come to visit often.
  • Reassure your child that having to go to the hospital does not mean they have done something wrong.

Pre-admission Clinic (PAC) Visit before Surgery

If your surgeon decides a pre-admission clinic visit is required, you will be contacted by the hospital staff prior to your child’s surgery. The PAC is located in the University of Alberta Hospital in unit 1C3 and the phone number is (780) 407-6890. It is located on the main floor next to the Rexall.

During this appointment, you and your child will meet with a variety of health care professionals who will be involved in your child’s surgery and hospitalization. The clinic staff will provide you with preoperative instructions including when to stop feeding your child, the time to arrive at hospital the day of surgery and any other special instructions. Expect this visit to take up to four hours as your child may need tests such as blood work or scans. Please pack any food, drink, formula, toys, iPads or books that your child may need during waiting times.

It is very important to follow all of the instructions that you were given. Your child must not eat or drink anything prior to surgery. This is for your child’s safety during the operation. Every child’s surgery is different, so follow the directions closely.

If your child takes medications on a regular basis, please follow the instructions given to you at your PAC visit. If you need to call and ask again, please call (780) 407-6890 during business hours.

If your child is having anxiety about the upcoming surgery, ask the nurse in PAC to contact Child Life. Child Life is a great resource to help children gain a better understanding of their upcoming surgery by using props like dolls.

A warm bath or shower and shampoo are a good idea the night before surgery. In the preadmission clinic you may receive special wash to use. Your child may wear pajamas to the hospital; however, they may be asked to change into a hospital gown. The best pajamas to wear in hospital are button-down tops as your child will have an IV in their arm.

During your child’s surgery, you will be updated as to how things are progressing by the pediatric neurosurgery nurse practitioner whenever possible. Please provide the NP with your cell phone number as this is the easiest way to stay in touch. Don’t forget to charge your cell phone.

Finally: your child is in the best possible hands, and we promise to take excellent care of them. Please remember, neurosurgery always takes time and a long surgery doesn’t mean that something is wrong.

Important:

  • Clear fluids are liquids you can see through, such as apple juice, water and ginger ale.
  • Remember:no milk and no orange juice. These are not considered clear fluids.
  • NPO (Nil per os) means nothing by mouth: no food or drink.
  • Your child’s surgery day or time may be changed due to unforeseeable reasons, such as your child’s surgeon being called to an emergency.

Packing Checklist

Consider labelling all items and be cautious of bringing things that are very valuable. The hospital is not responsible for lost or stolen items.

Button-down pajamas (two pieces)

Underwear

Slippers

Toothpaste

Shampoo

Brush and hair accessories

Hair dryer, if needed

Eye glasses or contacts and solution

Favourite blanket or pillow (optional)

Toy, stuffed animal, or electronic toys like an iPad

Spare change for vending machine or store

Health cards

Medications (yours and the child’s)

Cell phone and chargers

Journal, diary and pen

Books or magazines to read while waiting

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