Your Child in Hospital

A Day Surgery is ideal for children as it offers the best care with less disruption to the child’s normal routine. It is suitable for children who are reasonably fit and healthy and requiring elective surgery. This setting is less stressful to both the child and their family as your child does not have to stay in hospital overnight.

Getting Ready

It is natural for you as a parent to be worried if your child has to go into hospital. Here are some suggestions which may help you work together with the Doctors and nurses to make you and your child’s stay at Liverpool Day Surgery less stressful.

It is important that your child trusts you. So ask the doctor to explain fully what is going to happen, and then make sure your child understands why they are going into hospital. Try to arrange to visit Liverpool Day Surgery a few days beforehand (no appointment necessary) so that on the day it will not seem so strange when your child becomes a patient.
Please tell your child that the Doctors and nurses are friends who want to make them better. As your child will be having an anaesthetic, explain that they will be having a special sleep but will wake up soon. Tell them that things that make them well, may hurt a bit but that they will be getting better all the time.

What is Anaesthesia

Anaesthesia causes the body to be free from any pain and is a state of carefully controlled unconsciousness. A General anaesthetic puts the whole body “to sleep” and makes the patient unconscious. A Local anaesthetic or Regional anaesthetic only makes a certain part of the body numb. Local anaesthetic or a regional block may be used in conjunction with general anaesthetic so that less pain is experienced when your child wakes up.

Who gives your child the Anaesthetic

The anaesthetic is administered by a Doctor who is a specialist in anaesthesia called an anaesthetist.
The anaesthetist will remain with your child throughout the entire operation and will choose the appropriate anaesthetic drugs to be used.
Your Child in Hospital

Going to Hospital

A child is more likely to be distressed if a parent is very upset. It is in your child’s best interest that you reduce your anxiety by consenting to the operation only after your concerns and requirements for information have been fully addressed. Try to be calm and matter-of-fact the day you take your child to the centre. Pick out a favourite toy or book to take, and remember the favourite dummy for those still using one. Talk about hospital as you would for their first day at kindergarten, or school, or a trip to a new place. If they have any questions you can’t answer about what happens in hospital, suggest; “We’ll ask the nurse that when we get there”.
Your child will usually be admitted an hour or so before the operation.

Because of limited space and consideration to the other patients and children, who will also be attending Liverpool Day Surgery on the day, we ask you to make arrangements not to bring other members of the family with you. Waiting in reception can be very boring for brothers and sisters.

It is also important that you are aware that only one parent is permitted to escort your child into the admission room and then be with them in recovery after the operation. This is only due to limited space.
In the admission room the nurse will take and record your child’s weight, pulse and respirations.
The anaesthetist will also consult you, examine your child and ask you questions about their health, any allergies they may have and any anaesthetic problems which members of your family may have experienced in the past.

Your child will not be allowed to eat or drink anything, not even water, for at least six hours before a general anaesthetic. Fasting greatly reduces the risk of vomiting during the procedure. If stomach contents enter the windpipe, the lungs may be damaged. You will receive specific instructions about fasting from your Doctor. Infants and breastfed babies have shorter fasting times. Children need to be watched carefully during this fasting time, as they often forget, or do not understand they are not allowed to eat food or drink.

What happens during the operation

If your child has a special “going to theatre” toy, make sure you put a name tag on it. The anaesthetist will start the anaesthetic by making your child go “to sleep”, either by breathing an anaesthetic gas given by a special face mask or by an injection in the back of your child’s hand.
Even young children respond well to information about surgery. It is a good idea to discuss such things as the mask and injections in the hand several days prior to admission so that they know what to expect,  it is important that no one lies to the child.
During the operation the anaesthetist will constantly watch over your child, especially their breathing and circulation, and give any necessary medications. Depending on the type of operation, it may be necessary to have an intravenous drip, which will be inserted into the hand or arm while your child is asleep. This may or may not be removed before your child is returned to the recovery room but will be removed before your child leaves Liverpool Day Surgery.

Infection Control Information

Needles, syringes & intravenous lines and disposable items are all used once only. They are new in the packet before the surgery commences and are disposed of immediately after use. All instruments which are not disposable are prepared and sterilised to Australian Standard AS4187.

The Recovery Room

When the operation is completed, the anaesthetic will be stopped and the anaesthetist will transfer your child to the Recovery Room.
This area is close to the operating theatre and is staffed by nurses trained in the care of patients recovering from anaesthesia. During this time, children are often drowsy and sometimes disorientated and will possibly cry but they will receive supportive care and reassurance from the recovery room staff.
A member of the recovery nursing staff will notify you when your child has sufficiently woken from the anaesthetic. Again owing to space, one parent only will be able to sit with your child until it is time to go home.

After the Operation

During the recovery period your child may remain sleepy due to the anaesthetic. As your child becomes more awake it is necessary that you supervise your child closely as they are still under the effects of the anaesthetic. If there is any pain, medication such as Panadol will be given as necessary. Your specialist anaesthetist will have ordered something for pain that is appropriate for your child & type of surgery.

After Effects

After effects may occur following an anaesthetic, but are rarely serious. Nausea and vomiting effect about one in every 20 children and usually settles within a day. If your child has a history of vomiting and nausea after anaesthesia, or of motion sickness, tell the Anaesthetist. Eating & drinking too much too quickly after anaesthesia can also result in vomiting.

A sore throat and hoarse voice may be caused by the breathing tube placed in the windpipe after the start of anaesthesia. This usually lasts for a day or two.
Anaesthetic drugs are given through a needle usually in the back of the hand, so there may be pain or bruising at this site. This normally goes away quickly.

If you have any concerns or questions please ask your Doctor or nurse at the hospital.

Follow up

Please note that in the first 24 hours after general anaesthesia or intravenous sedation your child should:

  1. Not be left alone;
  2. Not ride bikes, skate boards etc.
  3. Have moderate activity only;
  4. Progress from a light regular diet at first to more substantial solid foods later.

If your child should experience any difficulty in breathing or persistent vomiting or any other complication as a result of the operation, ring the Day Surgery, contact your doctor or attend the emergency department of your local hospital.