Following are some frequently asked questions about preparing for pediatric surgery and what to expect after the procedure is completed. You should also review information on Preparing for Surgery for important pre-surgery guidelines.
Download the Pediatric Pre-Procedure
History and Physical Form
Due to space limitations and consideration for other parents, visitation is restricted to one parent or legal guardian per child. Please decide in advance who will stay with the child in the PACU. To minimize disruption, one parent should remain with the child throughout his/her entire stay in the PACU. Instruct all family members and friends to remain in the waiting room. They will be notified when the child is discharged from the PACU. Communication between family members and the parent is not encouraged, again to keep disruption to a minimum.
Following surgery, your child will be transported to the PACU where a nurse will take your child’s vital signs such as blood pressure, breathing, and heart rates. The PACU nurse will receive a report from the OR nurse, anesthesiologist, and surgeon, and perform an initial post-operative assessment. Your child will be monitored continuously until he or she is awake enough to return to the outpatient area or [Pediatric Department] a hospital room. Every attempt will be made to keep your child as comfortable and as pain-free as possible. Older children will be instructed before surgery to let the nurse know when pain occurs. A Pain Scale may be used to determine pain; a non-verbal scale will be used for younger children. Pain medication will be administered according to the anesthesiologist’s instructions.
The nurse will evaluate your child and determine when you may be called into the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU), usually, as he or she awakens from anesthesia.
Your child will be connected to monitoring equipment, oxygen, and have an IV line inserted. Each child reacts differently to anesthesia. Some children will be restless, while others will seem to sleep for an unusually long period of time. Both of these responses are normal.
Once you are called into the PACU, your presence can boost your child’s recovery time. That is why it is important that you do not leave your child’s bedside in the PACU. The PACU nurse will instruct you on the most appropriate measures to assist in your child’s recovery. Some children need to sleep undisturbed while the anesthesia wears off; you may be asked to sit and monitor your child quietly until he awakens on his own. The nurse may also ask you to hold, speak to, and soothe your child. If you feel uncomfortable or distressed while visiting, please tell your child’s nurse. It is our desire to provide a safe, comfortable environment for both you and your child. The nursing staff will be happy to answer questions concerning your child’s recovery and to help make you feel comfortable during your visit.