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How to Prepare for Surgery

How to prepare for surgery

A Few Tips on How to Prepare for Surgery

Are you or your loved one planning to have surgery soon? If so, knowing how to prepare for surgery can help make the experience go more smoothly. If your doctor or your hospital conducts a class, a conference, or a consultation session for patients planning elective surgeries, then do plan to attend.

We attended the “Joint Academy” of our local Dallas Methodist Hospital for knee surgery patients a month or so before the surgery, and we found it very helpful. We gained information about the surgery itself, necessary tests to prepare for surgery, post-op routines, and physical therapy sessions in the hospital. The nurses at the Joint Academy answered lots of questions, and we were able to get much of the paperwork and pre-surgery tests and exams done that day, instead of having to return again and again. And those nurses came by after the surgery to see how things were going and to make sure the patient was happy with the whole experience.

Of course, it is helpful to know what to bring with you to the hospital, and what to leave at home. Information of all kinds is necessary: a list of current medications, a list of allergies, advance directives, insurance card, and a photo ID. Be prepared with several copies of this

how to prepare for surgery

information. You can leave at home things like credit cards, checkbooks, keys, jewelry, and all those electronic devices that you won’t be using during the hospitalization.

It makes sense, no matter what kind of surgery you are having, to pack some necessities. You will need some loose-fitting comfortable clothing. Bring along your own short gowns, pajamas, underwear, and socks. You will probably prefer wearing these rather than the thin, brief gowns that are usually provided in hospitals. You will need shoes that have non-slip soles, especially if you are going to have physical therapy in the hospital. Of course, bring your own glasses, hearing aids, dentures, hair brush and comb, and toothbrush. Your hospital often provides shampoo, toothpaste, mouthwash and non-slip socks or compression stockings for the patient.

Most important, every patient should have a caregiver, friend, or family member present with the patient at least some of the time while hospitalized. If the same person cannot be available all of the time, then find others who can commit to spending some time with the patient while he is in the hospital. It is very important to name all the people whom you want to receive health information about the patient on any HIPPA form you fill out for the hospital.

Make sure that someone is available to take the patient to the hospital at the admission time, to stay during the surgery, and to communicate with the surgeon after the surgery. A caregiver should check with the patient and/or the nursing staff every day, either by phone or in person. And, someone should be available to transport the patient home after the hospitalization.

Be sure that the patient knows who will be helping him at these particular times. It is very comforting for the patient to know that the details have been taken care of by loved ones.

Having surgery is a serious life experience. It requires education, and planning from everyone involved, particularly the patient and their family. Knowing how to prepare for surgery takes you one step closer to a smooth experience.

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