Your Child’s Surgery
American Family Children’s Hospital
Date of Surgery: ________________
Your Child’s Surgery: __________________
On the 3rd floor
Parking in the visitor's ramp is free for the day of surgery. Valet parking at AFCH
also is free. Families who valet park will drop their car off with a valet attendant
who is near the large revolving door entrance at AFCH. When the family is
leaving they will be sent to security to get their keys.
Please arrive by your scheduled time.
ξ Park in the AFCH Ramp
ξ Upon entering the AFCH Ramp, you will receive a parking stub. Please
bring it with you to get it stamped. Do not leave it in your car.
ξ Take the elevator from the parking ramp to the first floor.
ξ Get your parking stub stamped at the Security Desk or Guest Depot, located
on the first floor.
ξ Take the AFCH elevators (marked with ) up to the third floor.
ξ Check in at the Reception Area on the third floor.
Welcome to American Family Children’s Hospital
Knowing what to expect is an important part of getting ready for surgery. We will
help you and your child through each step of surgery and recovery. The family is
part of the team helping your child. One of the best ways to help prepare your
child is to explain what will happen before the day of surgery. Please ask any
questions that you may have during the time that you are with us.
If you are unsure about what to tell your child or if your child has fears, nursing
and child life specialists can help you. They can be reached through the Child Life
Office at (608) 890-7888.
Your Child’s Pre-Surgery Clinic Visit
Members of the surgery team will meet with you and your child. You can expect
ξ Learn more about what to expect before, during, and after surgery.
ξ Answer questions about your child’s health history.
ξ Have a physical exam, unless it was done by your child’s own doctor
ξ Complete any tests that are needed.
ξ Get answers for any questions you may have.
This clinic visit may take 1 – 4 hours or more to complete.
You will be asked to sign a consent form showing that you understand and wish
your child to have the operation. You may also meet with the anesthesia staff.
Before your child’s clinic visit, please
Read this booklet and bring it with you to your child’s pre-surgery visit.
If your child’s own doctor did the pre-surgery exam, bring the forms
You will be given the approximate time for your child’s surgery the day before
surgery (or on Friday before a Monday surgery). A nurse will call you at your
preferred phone number listed in our system to tell you when to arrive at the
American Family Children’s Hospital Surgical Services Unit. The nurse will also
answer any questions that you may have. If you do not hear from us by 2:00 pm,
please call (608) 890-6900 to ask about your time.
If your child has been exposed to chicken pox, or has a cold, fever, or other illness
the day before surgery; please call your surgeon’s office between 8 a.m. and 4:30
p.m., Monday through Friday. If it is after hours your call will be answered by the
paging operator. Ask for the pediatric anesthesiologist on call. If you live out of
the area, please call 1-800-323-8942.
Steps for Getting Ready
1. If your child takes medicines that contain aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil ,
Pediaprofen , Children’s Motrin ) or blood thinners (Coumadin , warfarin),
please check with the surgeon at the clinic visit as to whether these should be
taken before surgery. Some of these medicines may need to be stopped 7 to
14 days before surgery. Omega 3 supplements may also need to be stopped
before surgery. Acetaminophen (Tylenol ) may be used if needed for pain or
2. Your child will need to stop eating solid foods and milk at midnight the night
before surgery. Also, no candy or chewing gum. Four (4) hours before
surgery, your child will need to stop drinking clear liquids (apple juice,
water). This will help prevent stomach contents from getting into your
child’s lungs. If you are breastfeeding, the last feeding should be finished 4
hours before surgery. Children under two years may have formula or milk up
to 6 hours before surgery.
3. The night before your child should bathe or shower. Wash your child’s hair
with shampoo. Depending on the type of surgery, your child will get a bath
with chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) to help prevent infection. Your child
may get a second bath with CHG when at the hospital. Your nurse will give
you specific written instructions and bathing cloths if needed for the night
4. The morning of surgery, your child may brush his teeth and rinse, but should
not swallow. If your child is young, you may want to skip brushing in the
morning so he does not swallow any water.
5. You will be told if your child should take any morning medicines with a sip of
6. Remove all make-up and fingernail polish.
7. Leave all jewelry at home.
8. If you are coming from out of town, you may wish to stay in Madison. A
Housing Coordinator can provide you with a list of nearby motels and arrange
for your stay at a discount rate (608) 263-0315. A Ronald McDonald House,
a place for parents and families to stay, is just a few blocks from the hospital.
9. We will have a gown for your child to wear. Bring your child’s socks or
slippers to wear before and after surgery.
10. You may bring a special toy, blanket, book, or video to comfort or entertain
your child as long as it was cleaned or washed before coming to the hospital.
Your child’s name should be on all items.
11. Bring along any of the nebulizers, inhalers, hearing aids, or other special
equipment that your child may need. Be sure these items are labeled.
12. If your child wears contacts, do not wear them to the hospital. Please have
your child wear glasses instead, and bring a labeled case to hold the glasses
13. Please try to leave other children at home. It may be hard to care for your
child with other children present. You may wish to bring something to read or
do while waiting.
14. When your child returns home, it may take a few days or weeks to resume the
normal routine (school, daycare). You will want to plan ahead for the time it
takes your child to get better. The length of time will depend on the surgery
done. During your child’s clinic visit, nurses and doctors will talk with you
about how to take care of your child at home. Keep in mind that even minor
procedures are still surgery. Your child should plan to take it easy for a while.
The Day of Surgery
On the day of surgery, check in at your scheduled time at the reception desk on the
3rd floor of AFCH. You will be checked into a private room where a nurse will ask
you questions. Anesthesia staff will see you and your child. Liquid medicine may
be given to help your child relax. When it is time to fall asleep some children may
fall asleep with a clear mask over their nose and mouth. Some children may get
some medicine through a plastic tube in their arm call an intravenous (IV). This
medicine helps them to fall asleep. Younger children have the IV started after they
In the Operating Room
One parent may be allowed to go into the
operating room (OR) and stay until the
child is asleep. Parents of very young
infants will be asked to wait in their child’s
room. The anesthesiologist will discuss
this with you on a case by case basis.
The OR will be brightly lit. A nurse will be
there to explain what is being done. Once
in the room, your child will be moved to a
narrow, firm bed with a safety belt much like a seat belt. A blood pressure cuff
will be put on your child’s arm. Sticky patches will be placed on her chest to
watch her heartbeat. A special tape or lighted clip will be put on her finger or ear
to check the oxygen level in the blood.
While in the OR, you may see staff wearing masks, gloves, and goggles.
Waiting for Your Child
The amount of time your child spends in the OR depends on what is being done.
Your nurse will give you specific instruction on where to wait depending on the
estimated length of your child’s surgery. You will have a pager if you wish to
leave the area. This allows us to page you back when the surgeon is ready to talk
For longer surgeries, we will give you an update about every 2 hours as well as
when surgery is almost done.
All children under age 18 must have a parent or legal guardian remain in the
hospital during surgery unless special arrangements have been made with the
anesthesia and nursing staff.
You will be able to go to the recovery room once
your child is settled. Nurses will check your
child’s blood pressure, pulse, and incision. This
may be done often depending on the type of
surgery your child had. You may notice beeps and
sounds from machines used in the room.
In the first half hour after waking up from surgery
your child may appear very unhappy and upset.
Children often wake up from anesthesia quite
confused and very agitated. This agitation is not
necessarily related to the amount of pain they feel.
This will slowly improve as your child becomes
Dealing with Pain
Our goal is to help your child have as little pain as possible. Even so, your child
may have some pain. The steps below may be helpful to you and your child.
ξ Ask the nurse or doctor what kind of pain your child might have and what
can be done to help decrease your child’s pain.
ξ Talk with your child about how to describe and rate pain.
o Older children may be able to use a number rating scale
o Younger children can be taught to use this pain face scale.
Faces Pain Scale Revised (FPS-R)
The face on the left shows no pain and the face on the right shows very much pain.
Your child will be asked to point to the face that shows how much hurt they are
having right now.
ξ Help the nurses and doctors assess your child’s pain, and let them know
what helps to make your child feel better.
ξ Pain medicine may cause your child to feel drowsy or lightheaded. When
you get home and if your child is old enough, do not allow your child to
drive, drink alcohol, or do jobs that require alertness.
Your child’s surgery is scheduled as Outpatient Surgery. You will be able to take
your child home the same day. When your child is ready, a nurse will take you and
your child back to the room in the Pre/Postoperative area. Nursing staff will keep
checking on your child. Our goal is to make sure your child is as comfortable as
possible after the surgery. The length of your child’s recovery time before going
First Day Surgery
Your child’s surgery is scheduled as First Day Surgery. This means that your child
will be staying in the hospital after surgery.
Depending on the type of surgery, your child may have
ξ An IV (intravenous tube) which is placed in a vein to provide fluids and
medicine until your child is able to drink fluids well.
ξ A face mask or tube under your child’s nose to supply oxygen.
ξ A monitor to record heart rate and breathing.
ξ A catheter to drain urine from the bladder. Your child may have the urge to
urinate even though the bladder is empty.
ξ An NG (nasogastric) tube through your child’s
nose into the stomach to help prevent nausea and
ξ Wound drains to help the incision heal.
You and your child will be taken to one of the inpatient
floors when your child is ready to leave the recovery
room. Once your child is settled into one of the private
rooms, nursing staff will check on your child often. Each
room has a bathroom and a sleep chair for one parent. In the Pediatric Intensive
Care Unit (PICU), a sleeping room may be provided for both parents.
Your child may not be able to eat right away since eating can cause nausea or
vomiting. Depending on the surgery your child had and how well your child is
able to take fluids, your child’s diet will change from clear liquids (Pedialyte ,
juice, or gelatin) to full liquids (formula, milk, or ice cream) to solid foods.
Your child will be asked to take deep breaths. The nurse will help you hold your
young child if needed. As soon as the doctor allows, your child will be able to
slowly resume normal routines. For those children who cannot walk, strollers,
wagons, and wheel chairs will be used. When able, your child may take part in the
playroom or schoolroom.
If your child has outpatient surgery, we make every effort to send your child home
on the same day. There is always a chance your child will need a short hospital
stay. If we have any concerns, we will have your child stay until he is well enough
to go home. Parents may stay overnight if this should happen.
If your child has First Day Surgery, the length of the stay in the hospital depends
on the type of surgery. Before leaving, we will talk with you about how to care for
your child at home. You will receive prescriptions for any medicines your child
will need which can be filled here, at your HMO pharmacy, or at a place of your
choice. Please bring your insurance card.
You may want to have someone else drive so that you can take care of your child
on the way home. Please bring your child’s car seat for the ride home.
List any questions you may have.
Important Phone Numbers
If you have questions about surgery or any other service, please call.
Admissions and Insurance Advisors (608) 263-8770
(Financial Counselors) E5/213
AFCH General Information (608) 890-8000
AFCH Surgical Services Unit (608) 890-6900
Billing Office (608) 262-2221
Child Life Specialist (608) 890-7888
Hospital Paging Operator (608) 262-0486
and Ronald MacDonald House (608) 890-8000
Spiritual Care Services (608) 263-8574
Patient & Family Learning Center (608) 890-8039
Patient Relations Office (608) 263-8009
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 4/2017 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#4292