Preparing for Hospital

Surgery can cause feelings of anxiety in people of all ages. Just because you are of a certain age does not mean you are expected to not have any concerns, it just means what you worry and think about is different from a young child. 

Your concerns may be affected by what you have watched on TV, heard from others experiences, your own imagination or even urban legends!

It is not uncommon for everyone, especially if you haven’t had surgery or major surgery before, to have concerns about the anaesthesia, the surgery, or possible pain.

You can ask what happens… what to expect… and what help… you will have. 

You can ask questions of your surgeon and anaesthetist to resolve any worries you have, and to have them answer your questions with care and understanding. You can be part of the responsible decision making process regarding your health and medical care. 

Some questions you may want to ask might include:

  • What to expectquestions
  • What happens for preparation, during and aftercare of the surgery
  • Are there any follow up appointments or procedures
  • Timeframes of when things will happen
  • What will you experience (sensations, discomfort, pain, pre-tests)
  • How will any possible pain be managed
  • What medicines will be administered after the procedure, and for how many days
  • How long will the surgery take
  • What care do you need to do at home after surgery
  • Who will show you how to do this
  • The name of the Anaesthetist who will be assisting the surgery
  • What can go wrong after you get home, and who will help you if this happens
  • Who can you talk to if you have any questions or concerns after the surgery

You might also want to share your past experiences in hospital:

  • Reactions to previous hospitalisations
  • Emotional reactions to anaesthesia or medical procedures
  • Any other concerns or worries you have, it’s important you talk to an adult about your fears so they can understand where you are coming from, and help you overcome them

Your parents or caregivers can stay with you in the hospital and stay overnight, or you might want some space. What support you feel you need may change day to day, and sometimes moment to moment.

It can be helpful to read the clinical and wellbeing information in this website to make sure you have accurate information about what is involved in the surgery and keep notes for any questions you have.

You can print out a PDF with questions, add in your own and remember to take this along to your appointments. During your stay in hospital create a Diary, take photos, keep a journal and  involve your close friends to support you.  You should be very proud of how brave you are and celebrate your uniqueness.