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Having Surgery at Children's: Your Presurgical Checklists

Helpful tips to prepare for your child’s surgery

Preparing for your child's surgery: 1 month before surgery
Below are some helpful tips to prepare for your child’s surgery. Children’s National Medical Center recommends reviewing this checklist as soon as your child’s surgery is scheduled.
  • Have I scheduled a physical exam with my child’s primary care physician within 30 days before the operation?
  • Has my primary care physician completed and signed the medical history and physical examination form?
  • Have I notified Language Services if my child, family, or I have special communication needs, such as hearing impairment,
  • visual difficulties, foreign language translation or other need?
    – Language Services: (202) 476-5444
  • Have I received authorization from my insurance company for the operation, if required by my insurance contract?
  • Have I reviewed the Pre-Surgical Tour online? Have I considered bringing my child to Children’s Hospital on a Sunday afternoon for the pre-surgical tour?
    – For more information, call (202) 476-3812
  • Have I discussed my child’s medical history with the surgeon?
    • The reason for the surgery
    • Medications my child is taking
    • Allergies to medicine, food, or latex
    • Reactions to anesthesia or to a blood transfusion
    • History of nausea after anesthesia or medication
    • Immunization record
    • Previous illnesses or operations
    • Previous hospital stays (admissions), tests, or treatments
    • Anything that might put my child at risk during the hospital visit
  • Have I asked my surgeon about any special equipment I may need at home after surgery?
  • Have I arranged for someone to care for my other children while I am at the hospital?
  • For families coming from out of town: have I called Concierge Services at (202) 476-6160 for help making travel and lodging plans?

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The day before surgery
  • Does my child have a cold, a fever, a rash, or fever blister?
  • If so, please call the surgeon immediately. The operation may be postponed.
  • Have I talked with my child about the operation?
  • Have I reviewed the information about anesthesia and the instructions about eating and drinking?
  • Has my child taken a thorough bath or shower and removed all make-up, nail polish, piercings, and other jewelry?
  • For post-surgical care at home: do I have plenty of clear liquids, such as water, sugar water, Gatorade, Jell-O, apple juice, pulpfree juices, breast milk, Pedialyte, popsicles?
  • Do I have a supply of acetaminophen at home?
  • Have I planned quiet games and activities for my child for after the operation?
  • Have I made arrangements for transportation to and from Children’s National? Do I have directions?
  • Have I made arrangements to be with my child or have another adult present while my child recuperates at home?
  • Have I arranged for someone to care for my other children while I am at the hospital?
  • If I need to cancel my child’s surgery, have I contacted the surgical coordinator?
  • Do I have all of our insurance information ready to bring with me to the hospital?
  • I was called by Children’s National and was unavailable, did I return the call?

Having Surgery at Children's - Presurgical Checklists 

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What to bring on the day of surgery
Please make sure you bring the following information to check in and register:
  • Picture identification card (for parents and patients over 18)
  • Insurance card for the patient
  • Statement of non-availability, if covered by TriCare
  • Referral/authorization, if covered by an HMO
  • Proof of guardianship (foster parent papers, court orders) if you are not the parents of the patient.
  • Your child’s Social Security number
  • The “Consent to Surgery” form that your child’s surgeon gave you
  • The original medical history and physical (H&P) exam form completed by your primary care physician
  • Any outside x-ray or other imaging films and/or lab results

Other items to bring for the comfort of you and your child:
  • Comfortable clothing and a change of clothes
  • Your child’s medications; parent/caregiver medications
  • Containers for glasses, contact lenses, or any assistive devices such as hearing aids
  • Your child’s favorite toy, blanket, or comfort item
  • Special bottle, nipple, pacifier, or sipper cup
  • Something to occupy your time while you’re waiting, such as magazines, knitting, or your laptop computer. A free wireless network is available to our guests.

What not to bring on the day of surgery
  • Nailpolish; ensure nailpolish is removed prior to surgery
  • Valuables, such as jewelry
  • Food or drink into the Surgery Preparation, Surgery Registration, and family Waiting Room
  • Siblings and other relatives or friends
Due to space constraints, we must limit the number of people coming to the hospital to only parents/guardians and patients. If your child will be staying at the hospital after the surgical procedure, the surgical team will advise you when other guests are permitted.

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