Nurse talking to mother and daughter

Mighty Blog

Preparing for a hospital stay

Getting ready for a trip to the hospital for a procedure or surgery can be a stressful experience for children and parents alike. Knowing what to expect ahead of time from anesthesia to recovery can reduce anxiety and make the visit less stressful for the whole family.

Dr. Lindsey Yock, hospitalist, shares how parents can prepare their child for an overnight visit to the hospital. Watch the full segment below.

Tips for preparing your child for a hospital stay:

  • Before arriving at the hospital, talk to your child about what they’re going to see, experience and do at the hospital. Reassuring your kids and emphasizing that family will be there the whole time can go a long way by helping to calm nerves and ease anxieties.
  • Keep in mind that all vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements, even things like fish oil, should be removed from a child’s diet one week before a procedure to avoid interfering with anesthesia. These substances may also have adverse side effects on the body or increase the risk for bleeding. It’s important to always talk with your surgeon about your specific medicines prior to surgery.
  • For overnight stays at the hospitals, pack items that will make your child the most comfortable during his or her stay. When packing, keep your child’s age in mind and bring age-appropriate items such as stuffed animals for younger children or favorite books or media for older children. Always pack any toiletries that you think may be important or needed during your stay.
  • If a child needs to be sedated, parents should talk with their children ahead of time about the purpose of anesthesia. Explaining that the medication they will take will help them sleep so they won’t feel anything during surgery and reassuring them about what they can expect when they wake up are helpful points.
  • Child life professionals are another great resource to utilize at the hospital. They can help with relaxation and distraction techniques, guided imagery, massage and more to calm your child during the visit.
  • Last but not least, parents should remember that’s important to take care of themselves before, during and after a hospital stay. Lean on friends, family and members of your support system and let them take care of you.

For more information on planning ahead for a surgery, visit our website.

Rachel Patterson