Preparing Your 6 - 11 Year Old for Hospitalization

Honesty is the key when preparing this age group for surgery. School-agers are better able to understand what is told to them than younger children. Give them truthful information. This age often has fears about their bodies being hurt. They also may be confused about anesthesia.

Prepare Yourself First:
Remember that your child can sense your anxiety. Be sure to share your fears and concerns with your child's doctor. Have all of your questions answered before the day of surgery.


Preparing Your Child:
You know your child best. Some children like to hear a lot of information while others just want to hear the basic facts. The following are suggestions of things to talk with your child about before coming to the hospital.

Before Surgery:
1. Tell your child why they are having surgery.

2. Talk about the type of surgery your child will have and where on the body it will be performed.

3. Tell your child that they will be asleep and will not feel anything during surgery.

4. Remind your child that they will not be able to eat or drink anything the morning of surgery.

5. Reassure your child that you will be with them while they are at the hospital.

6. Suggest that your child choose one or two items from home for comfort and to keep them busy.

7. Remind your child about how long they will be in the hospital.

Day of Surgery:
1. Your child will meet medical staff (nurses, doctors, anesthesiologists) specifically trained to care for children.

2. Usually there is time to relax and settle in before going to surgery. An activity room is available for your child to use at this time.

3. A short time before your scheduled surgery your child will be taken to the surgical area (the pre-op area on the 2nd floor). Two adults may be with the patient at this time.

4. You and your child will then meet with several members of the operating staff, including the anesthesiologist.

5. Your child will go with this team to the operating room. A staff member will then guide you to the appropriate waiting area. This is a time to remind your child that you will remain in the hospital, waiting for them to wake up after surgery and be reunited with them in the recovery room.

6. The nursing staff will provide you with information about post-operative care of your child.

If you have any questions or would like more information on helping your child adjust to going to the hospital, please contact the Child Life Department at (727) 767-4323. If you have questions regarding surgery time, please call Pre-Admission Testing at (727) 767-8561 or (800) 456-4543 x78561.