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Preparing Your Child for Surgery

When your child needs to have surgery it is important to help prepare her ahead for what is to come as this helps to lessen fears and anxiety in regards to the anesthesia as well as the actual surgery. The most important point to remember is to explain things to a your child in a manner that is appropriate for her age group and in a way that she will understand. Make sure to answer all of her questions honestly and dispel as many misconceptions as you can, such as horror stories she has been told by her friends. It is much easier for a child to cope with having surgery if she knows what to expect before the day arrives.

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Prepare yourself as a parent first

Keep in mind that the majority of elective surgeries for children are day surgery so this will lessen the chance that your child will have to spend a night in a hospital bed. As well most hospitals in the United States allow a parent to stay with the child both before the surgery and right after while the child is in the recovery room. The only place the parent is not permitted is in the operating room. This should help put your mind at ease somewhat.

Talk with the hospital staff about what the surgical procedure for your child entails and if you are especially concerned about the anesthesia then ask to speak with the anesthesiologist before the operation gets underway.

Prepare your child

Explain to your child in a simple, non-frightening sort of way why they require surgery and what to expect in a manner that they can comprehend. Do not use any scary words or explain things in a way that will cause anxiety to develop in your child. Reassure your child that the doctor will make the health problem they have better and also reassure them that plenty of other children have this problem and need to come to the hospital to have it fixed. Never lie to your child or mislead them but always use age appropriate language.

Dispel fear and anxiety

Most children fear that surgery will cause them pain or that they won’t wake up from it so explain in a simple way how a person known as an anesthesiologist will give the child a special kind of medicine to make them sleep and so they will not feel anything during the surgery. Then after it is done they will wake up. Tell them that they will likely feel kind of strange when they wake up, groggy and maybe thirsty but they will be fine after that and mommy will be there and so will the nurses. Always remember to never use scary language to explain anything to do with the operation. It might be a good idea to let your child bring one of her favorite toys with her to the hospital to help make her feel better about the procedure, both before and after.

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