No parent wants to see their child in a hospital gown, but for many children, surgery is a reality. Each year, thousands of children across the country are admitted to hospitals for elective surgical procedures. Some of the most common procedures are tonsillectomies and having tubes placed in the ear, together totaling over one million surgeries per year.
Child Surgery Can Be Traumatic
At Piedmont Ear, Nose and Throat Associates, we see children for surgery every day, and often take it for granted that patients understand what is to be expected. But we do realize that for you, as a parent, it can be stressful when you get the news that your child will need surgery, and oftentimes this is the first time either you or your child has been in an operating room. Our team of caring professionals have compiled a list of tips to help make the process less stressful for both you and your child.
Prepare Yourself. It’s understandable that parents will experience a certain level of anxiety about their child going through surgery, but remember, when you’re anxious, your children can sense it and they become anxious as well. One of the best ways to alleviate stress is to ensure you fully understand the procedure and the process. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your healthcare providers during your office visit. You can even call us if you get home and have more questions. Be sure to ask what to expect before, during, and especially after the procedure.
Talk to your children. Pediatric patients are more cooperative when they understand what is going on. Take time before the surgery to explain to your child what will happen and why. It’s important that they know having the surgery may make them feel a little uncomfortable, but in the end they’re going to feel much better. You might want to check out books from the library regarding what to expect during surgery to help them visualize the process. Encourage them to ask questions as well.
Pack a bag. No matter your child’s age, having a few comforts of home with them will be helpful. For babies, pack their favorite lovey or blanket and pacifiers if permitted by their physician. Toddlers and young children will want to bring dolls, small toys or stuffed animals. Older children might want a tablet or their favorite music.
The Day of Surgery
Once the day you’ve prepared for arrives, make sure to take care of yourself. Some parents will want to skip breakfast in a show of solidarity with their children who aren’t able to eat before surgery. While this might sound nice, you need to make sure you’re healthy and well for your kids. Go ahead and eat, even if you eat in hiding, so you don’t fall victim to low blood sugar later in the day.
Also, be prepared for the “unexpected” the day of surgery. Sometimes procedures run late and your child might not go in when scheduled, or maybe your child’s surgery takes longer than expected. Remember this is all par for the course, and if you’re concerned, you can ask for an update from the staff.
Finally, when it’s time to go, be sure to ask plenty of questions about what to expect when you get your child home. Depending on the surgery, your child might not feel like eating, or may be sleepy for a few hours. Never hesitate to ask questions about the recovery process. We want to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible, not just during surgery, but afterwards as well.
Questions? Contact us, or call (336) 768-3361 today to schedule your appointment.