The final step in your plan is to access all the information and resources available to support you before you come into hospital for your surgery.
What to do before you come into hospital
Before you come into hospital, please make sure that you have ordered sufficient supplies of your regular medicines to last during your recovery period. Aim to have at least a two week supply at home. We do not supply your regular medicines for you to take home.
When you come into hospital, please bring a supply of each medicine with you in the original packaging, including sprays, patches and inhalers. This should include those you take regularly and any you use only when you need them. In most cases, you will continue to take your usual medications during your hospital stay, using your own supplies. If you have a repeat prescription list from your GP, please bring this with you.
On the morning of your surgery you should take your morning medicines at 6am, unless you have been advised not to by your surgeon, anaesthetist or the pre-assessment clinic.
When you are discharged, any changes to your medicines will be explained to you and you will take your remaining usual medicines home with you.
If we start you on any new medicines in hospital, you will be given a supply, along with information on how to take them.
It is very important to follow the instructions on when to stop eating and drinking, as your surgery may be cancelled or postponed if you do not. These can be found in your admission letter and also in the fluid information leaflet given to you in the pre-assessment clinic. You are able to drink water for up to two hours before surgery. However it is very difficult to know exactly what time your operation will be. Once in hospital, please do not have anything else to drink unless advised to do so by the staff looking after you. Whenever possible, you will be offered more water, taking into account your position on the operating list and any possible changes to that order.
Have a bath or a shower
Ideally on the morning of your surgery. This will help to keep your skin as clean as possible and reduce the risk of a wound infection after surgery. If you are unable to have a bath or shower that morning, please have one the night before. Before you coming into hospital, please remove all the jewellery and piercings that you can. Nail varnish, false nails and make up should be removed.
What you need to bring into hospital
Your admission letter – this contains specific instructions about your admission
If you have been given a CPAP machine for sleep apnoea, please bring this in with you
A list of questions you would like to ask
Glasses, hearing aids, contact lenses and denture pots together with any solutions and containers
Any mobility aids you use, such as a walking stick or frame
Enough toiletries to use during your stay
Comfortable day clothes and shoes
Nightwear, dressing gown and slippers
A small amount of money for refreshments, etc.
A book/magazine or something else to keep your mind active during your stay
What happens on the day of surgery
1. Your arrival at hospital
Please arrive at the admissions area at the time shown on your admissions letter where you will be directed either to an admission space if you are first on the list, or to the waiting area.
You may have a long wait before your operation. We understand how frustrating this can be for you. Unfortunately this is often unavoidable. Sometimes it is due to late changes to the operating list that become necessary; but usually it is to allow your surgeon and anaesthetist to see you before heading into theatre for a full day of operations. We are looking at ways to improve this situation for our patients, but in the meantime, please accept our sincere apologies if this happens to you. Please bring something with you to help you pass the time. You may be able to leave the ward for short periods, but please check with the nurse-in-charge and stay within the hospital grounds so that staff can contact you when it is time for your operation. If you have any questions or concerns, please speak to the admissions staff.
If instead you are being admitted directly to a designated ward or unit, you will either be asked to sit in a waiting area or shown to a bed on your arrival.
2. Preparation for surgery
A nurse will prepare you for your operation.
This will involve:
- Changing into a theatre gown and elastic underwear
- You may be asked to wear compression stockings (to help reduce the risk of developing a blood clot)
- Completing a safety checklist
- A visit from a member of the surgical team. This is an opportunity for you to ask any questions and resolve any concerns you may have
- A visit from the anaesthetist to discuss the anaesthetic and pain relief you will be offered after your operation
- Dentures – If you wish, you may keep your dentures until just before the anaesthetist gives you the anaesthetic. They will be returned to you in the recovery room when you wake up
- Glasses and hearing aids – you may take them to the operating theatre. The nurse will label them for you and they will be stored in a box and returned to you in the recovery room
3. Going to the operating theatre
If you are able, you will walk to the operating theatre accompanied by a member of staff. Wheelchairs and trolleys are available for patients who have difficulty walking or when the theatre is a distance away.
4. Your role in your recovery
Once you have had your surgery, your aim is to recover and get back to your normal life as quickly as possible. This will reduce your risk of developing a complication and will take some effort on your part. You are the most important person in your recovery – this is an important statement to remember, as you are the one that can make the most difference. You must listen and act upon the advice given to you by your clinical team.