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Paediatric surgery advice for parents

21 June 2022

Childrens health General surgery Your private health care
Bringing your child in for surgery can be a daunting experience. Here is what you can expect from start to finish of your child’s stay in hospital.

Your preparation

Your doctor will provide any special instructions your child should follow before their surgery, particularly regarding fasting and medications. Please check with your doctor if they need any specific care, equipment or medications after the surgery or procedure.

What to bring

  • Your Medicare card and concession cards such as the Safety Net Card and Department of Veterans’ Affairs Card
  • Your health fund details
  • Name and address of your general practitioner
  • Emergency contact details of your next of kin
  • Any x-rays or scans related to child's condition
  • Any current medications they are taking, including natural remedies and supplements in their original packets
  • A list of allergies to food, medications, latex, dyes and dressings
  • Plastic button top pyjamas - non metal fastenings
  • Personal toiletries including nappies and wipes
  • Comfort item for child i.e rug, teddy, doll, dummy etc
  • Babies formula or expressed breast milk if required or if specialised dietary requirements.
  • Baby bottles
  • A small amount of money for items such as newspapers and magazines

What not to bring

Please do not bring jewellery, valuables or excess cash to hospital. We do not accept responsibility for loss or damage of personal property.

What to expect when your child is admitted

Before you come to hospital, your doctor will decide whether your child's surgery or procedure requires an overnight stay or can be done as a day procedure. Most patients are admitted on the day of their planned surgery or procedure.

When you arrive at hospital, our caregivers will ensure all necessary admission requirements are complete. You will also be asked to confirm you have given written consent for the surgery or procedure. Current COVID-19 precautions and RAT testing requirements must be followed.

You may need to wait in a patient lounge or in your ward room before having your child's surgery or procedure. We do everything possible to minimise waiting times and keep you informed about any unforeseen delays.

Once admitted to hospital, your child will be given a patient identification band to wear. Our caregivers will confirm their identity before providing a treatment or procedure, including giving medication. Please do not be alarmed, this process is designed to ensure your child’s safety while in hospital.

A nurse will complete your child’s admission paperwork and a set of vitals once admitted to the ward. They will also complete a current weight checked by two nurses. Sometimes a pre medication is ordered to help alleviate anxiety or distress.

Going into surgery

Once theatre is ready, an orderly will come to the ward to take your child down to the holding bay in their bed or cot.Quite often the anaesthetist or surgeon will come out and speak to you. From there, you will be able to go with your child into the operating theatre. They will be either given a medication or gas via a mask to help them go to sleep. This can be quite emotional and confronting to watch so there are always theatre staff and volunteers around to support you.

This is a great opportunity for you to have something to eat and drink whilst your child is having their operation.

After Surgery

As soon as they start waking, you will be called to be with them in recovery. As far as your child is aware, you have not left their side.

Please remember your child has had an anaesthetic and they may wake happy, sad, angry or very sleepy. The recovery nurses will help manage your child as they recover from their anaesthetic.

Once alert and orientated, tolerating sips of fluid or an icy pole, a paediatric nurse from St Michaels ward will collect them and bring them back to the ward for regular observations and monitoring.

On the ward, a fold out bed is provided for one guardian to stay and a bed or cot will be provided for your child.


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Clinical Nurse Educator Vanessa Herrick
Vanessa Herrick - Clinical Nurse Educator
The role of a Clinical Nurse Educator is to be responsible for the assessment, delivery and evaluation of learning and development programs. To support the staff with their education and encourage Quality improvement initiatives with the ward.