Preparing for surgery

This information is relevant for children who will be coming in for day surgery as well as children who will be staying overnight.

Is your child having an unplanned surgical procedure?

Is your child in hospital and scheduled for surgery?

What to bring for your child's day surgery

Make sure you have everything listed below ready to show hospital staff:

  • Your child's personal health record, such as their blue book, immunisation record and any other health summaries you may have
  • Medicare card
  • Health insurance details or evidence of current fund membership
  • A list of medications or treatments your child is currently receiving, as well as the medications themselves to show hospital staff
  • Any equipment which your child needs to aid mobility, feeding or communication
  • Your family doctor's name, address and phone number
  • Your general paediatrician's name, address and phone number if your child sees one regularly
  • Any relevant x-rays and results from pathology tests.

What to bring for overnight stays

For overnight stays, there are some additional things to bring:

  • Clothes (including pyjamas and slippers), shoes
  • Soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush
  • A favourite toy or comforter, colouring pencils or games
  • School books/homework (the hospital has a school run by the Department of Education and Training)
  • Special dietary formula
  • Money for your meals, parking and accommodation
  • Change for phones or phone cards
  • Storage space on the wards is limited so please do not bring too much with you.
  • We recommend you leave valuables at home as the Hospital cannot accept responsibility for any lost belongings.

Fasting for patients having an anaesthetic

Fasting means not eating or drinking for a certain amount of time. It is very important for your child to fast before surgery. If your child has food or fluid in their stomach during an anaesthetic they may vomit, which could then enter the windpipe or the lungs. Your child must have nothing to eat or drink (not even a sip of water from the time you are told to fast). Please check the fasting times with the nurses.

Operating theatre

If the anaesthetist agrees, one parent may be allowed into the anaesthetic room to stay until your child falls asleep. When your child is asleep, you will be asked to wait in the Parent Waiting Room, which is next to the Recovery Ward.
When your childs operation has finished, you will be called to the Recovery Ward to sit with your child as they wake up from the anaesthetic. Only parents and carers are allowed into the Recovery Ward (no brothers or sisters).

After the anaesthetic it is quite normal for some children to become upset. This does not necessarily mean they are in pain and they will usually settle down after a little while. Some children remain drowsy after an anaesthetic — it is best to let them sleep. If your child does feel pain after the procedure or surgery, they will be given pain relief medication as required.

If your child is having 'day surgery'

After surgery your child will to go to the Recovery Unit for a short time. When ready your child will return to the Ambulatory Care Unit.

If your child is staying overnight after the operation

After surgery your child will go to the Recovery Unit. When ready your child will then be transferred to a ward bed. In the interest of other patients please keep family and friends accompanying your child to hospital to a minimum.

When is my child able to eat and drink?

Depending on the type of procedure/operation, food and drink will be slowly given to your child. The medical and nursing staff will tell you when your child may start to eat and drink.

Going home (when your child is discharged)

Your doctor or nurse will let you know when your child can go home (be discharged) and arrange for any necessary follow-up appointments. 

Unable to attend?

If your child is unable to attend due to illness a new date needs to be arranged. Please call the phone number on your admission letter.

Directions, maps and parking

Information about directions, maps and parking for The Children's Hospital Westmead.

There is a cafe and cafeteria inside the The Children's Hospital at Westmead which is open on weekdays.  Services and facilities available include an interpreter service, gift shop, pharmacy, home equipment lending service, chaplaincy services, kids entertainment facilities and a hospital school. Public phones are available at the northern end of the main corridor on Level 0 and the Emergency Department of the The Children's Hospital at Westmead.