Rural and Regional Health Australia has a wealth of pre-prepared information to assist with the logistics behind travelling to hospitals, as well as assistance schemes. Additionally, the Ronald McDonald house is available at every capital city hospital, and can provide excellent accommodation during your hospital visit.
How to travel & organise your accommodation
What to Expect
You won’t get any sleep the night before surgery, that is normal. The day off will be a long day. The process is very emotionally draining. Any surgery requires fasting for safety reasons. For little children it can be hard because they don’t understand. The hospital will do their best to get your child surgery started. The hospital will go through its check list which can feel a lot longer than it is because of what is going on. For older children there can be anxiety and trying to pull out of surgery before they go in. Let the nurses know if this is the case as they can help ease the process.
The doctors will give you a rough time frame to expect the surgery to take. If it takes longer it doesn’t mean something has gone wrong. The surgeon will be working hard to give your child the best outcome. It can take them longer than they expected. Also some children take longer to wake up from surgery. Remember your child has been fasting and can be very tired after surgery. Your child won’t be allowed to eat until the doctor says so, which can be hours after surgery. While your child is having surgery this is a good time to go and grab a bite to eat. The surgery can take hours and it can be good to re-energize to keep your self going for later when you might not get the chance.
The first night after surgery that nurse will be in regularly doing checks on the child. It makes it hard to get any sleep. They will ask you questions to see how the patient is doing as well. The length of your stay with depend on how feeding is going and how well the child is going since the surgery. Day 3 of recovery is always the worst. It is when you will worry that something isn’t right. Call the contact number given at discharge if you are worried. The nurse/doctor will know what is normal and talk you though your concerns.
What to Bring
Warm socks for yourself, hospital can be so cold. Snack for yourself in case you don’t get a chance to get some food. Bring about 3-4 changes of clothes to cover your stay. Some warm clothes for you and your child. Talk to the hospital to see if they are supplying the post op care items like arm bands and feeding equipment for lip and palate repair surgery. You should have had a pre-operation appointment which will cover these and other questions.
Toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush and toothpaste and any other everyday items you would use are a necessity, and tissues, pen and paper is always good to have on hand as well. Anything that your child loves like their favourite stuffed toy.
With older children any electric devices that your child likes to play with like an iPad or DVD player to keep them occupied. With little ones you will more than likely be sleeping with them in your arms, just like when they are sick and they will crave cuddles