The vast majority of surgeries at Shriners Hospitals for Children® are elective, meaning that there is no immediate risk to the child that requires surgery to take place right away. Your child’s optimal wellbeing is also an important part of planning their surgery, so we may require extra time for rehabilitation, non-surgical treatments for their condition or even nutritional therapy before surgery is performed.
On average there is a three- to six-month wait before a surgery or admission. Our surgery scheduler will call you with an appointment as soon as a date has been set.
Here are some important guidelines for preparing for your child’s surgery:
- Six weeks prior to surgery – please call your care coordinator if your child becomes ill at any time up to six weeks before their scheduled surgery. This includes cold, flu, cough, fever, congestion, sore throat, infection, rash, skin eruptions or dental problems.
- Four weeks prior to surgery – you are responsible for making all travel and housing arrangements at least 30 days before your admission. Only one parent may stay overnight with the child, so you will need to find a place for a second parent to stay during your child’s hospitalization. Some of our hospitals have parent rooms onsite where you may stay during your child’s hospitalization. Please check with your care coordinator about the availability of these rooms.
If your child will need a wheelchair after surgery please make arrangements to have it ready before you come to the hospital. You may need to call your care coordinator for a prescription and contact your insurance or state aid provider for pre-authorization.
- Two weeks prior to surgery – stop all herbal medicines and aspirin two weeks before surgery. If your child is taking aspirin for something other than pain please notify your care coordinator. Do not give your child ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.) or naproxen (Aleve) for 24 hours before the surgery. If these medicines are taken it could mean the surgery date will need to be changed or canceled.
- One week prior to surgery – one week before surgery the hospital will call you to see if your child is healthy. For your child’s safety let us know if your child has been sick or has been exposed to an infectious disease like mumps, measles or chicken pox in the last six weeks.
Let your care coordinator know if your child needs special foods or medical equipment.
- The day before surgery – if you are scheduled to be admitted the same day as your surgery you must call Inpatient Nursing after 5 pm the day before the procedure to find out the exact time to arrive at the hospital. It is critical you arrive on time. Late arrivals may cause the procedure to be postponed or canceled.
Please follow these eating and drinking restrictions carefully, as well as any other pre-operative eating and drinking instructions our nurses give you the day before surgery:
- Do not give any solid food or milk products after midnight the night before the surgery.
- Breast fed children may have breast milk until four hours before the procedure.
- Formula fed children may have formula until six hours before the procedure.
- Children under the age of six should be offered clear liquids three hours before the procedure and then should have nothing. Clear liquids include water, apple juice or grape juice.
- It is very important that absolutely nothing be given by mouth for at least three hours before the procedure.
- The day of surgery – before surgery the child’s parent or legal guardian will need to sign consent forms. If the patient is 18 or older and capable he or she will sign his or her own consent forms. There will be separate consent forms for hospital treatment, the procedure, anesthesia and blood transfusions.