Before arriving at Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center for your scheduled surgery there are some important guidelines you can follow to prepare. Bring a list of any questions you have about your surgery to your pre-surgical doctor’s visit. Also bring a list of all the prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are currently taking or that you took until very recently. Review the list with your surgeon and ask if there are any you should stop taking prior to your procedure.
- Be sure your surgeon knows about any allergies you have to medications and foods.
- Ask you surgeon whether you can eat or drink before your procedure, and if so, what kinds of food or drink, and within how many hours of your surgery.
- Ask your surgeon whether you should remove nail polish or temporary dental appliances (such as a bridge), if you can wear deodorant or body lotion, and if there are other preparations you need to make prior to surgery.
- Find out if you will need therapy after your surgery, who will arrange for it, and whether you can have therapy at home.
- Arrange for transportation to and from the hospital. Ask a friend or relative to come to Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center with you, to stay during your procedure, and accompany you home afterward.
On the Day of your Surgery
- Shower or bathe and wash your hair. Don’t wear makeup or perfume. Be sure to follow any other pre-surgery instructions you were given.
- Leave your jewelry, money, credit cards, and other valuables at home.
- Allow yourself plenty of time for travel.
- Once you arrive at Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center, you will be given an Informed Consent form to sign. Ready it carefully. Make sure everything on the form is correct. If you don’t understand something, ask questions before you sign the form.
Before Your Procedure Begins
- Staff at the Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center will ask you the following questions more than once before your surgery:
- Your name
- What kind of surgery you’re having
- The part of your body that is being operated on
- A healthcare professional will mark the spot on your body that is going to be operated on. Make sure they mark only the correct part. If they make a mistake and have to make a new mark, be sure the old mark is completely cleaned off.
- If you won’t be awake for the marking, be sure your relative or friend watches the marking.
- Ask your surgeon if the team will take a “time out” just before your procedure. This is done just to make sure they are doing the right surgery on the right body part of the right person.
After Your Surgery
- Speak up about any pain you are having and ask for relief. Be specific about the intensity and location.
- If you are given medications right after surgery, ask what they are and what they are for. Ask about side effects. If you are given a prescription for medications you must take while recovering, be sure you understand the instructions for the dosage, how frequently you need to take the medications, and for how long.
- If you are given IV (intravenous) fluids right after surgery, ask what they are and what they are for. Be sure someone monitors the fluid level.
- Ask your surgeon if your activities need to be limited, and if so, for how long. Ask when you will be able to resume work, exercise and travel.
- Be sure to get instructions for post-surgical care in writing before you leave.