Surgery Centers Home Preparation Westerville and Main Campus

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Food and Drink before Surgery

It is very important to follow all the instructions given to you by the hospital about feeding your child the day before surgery.
  • Solid foods MUST BE STOPPED 8 hours before surgery
  • Your child may have breast milk up to 4 hours, formula up to 6 hours before surgery and then may have water or Pedialyte® up to 2 hours before surgery. All other liquids, semi-liquids and solid foods MUST BE STOPPED 8 hours before surgery.
  • Your child may have CLEAR LIQUIDS up to 2 hours before surgery. After that, he or she may have nothing else to drink. Clear liquids are those you can see through that have no pulp or food bits in them. Examples of clear liquids are water, apple juice, white grape juice, and Pedialyte®. If you have questions, please call Westerville Surgery Center at (614) 355-6100 or Main Campus Surgery Center at (614) 722-2920.
  • For 2 hours before surgery, all liquids (including clear liquids) must be stopped.
  • Gum, cough drops and hard candy are not allowed. If your child has been chewing gum, surgery will be delayed 2 hours from the time the gum is spit out. If the gum has been swallowed, surgery will be cancelled or delayed 6 hours from the time the gum was swallowed.

Prescription Medicines

Please review your child’s prescription medicines with the Nurse who calls to give you surgery information. The Nurse will go over which medicines are acceptable to take before surgery and when to take them.

If it is the day before surgery and you have not yet reviewed your child’s medicines with a nurse, please call:

  • Main Campus Surgery Center Nurses line at 614-722-5983
  • Westerville Surgery Center Nurses line at 614-355-6103

If your child cannot take medicine with water, try one of these ideas. You may want to try this ahead of time to see if your child can take medicine in this way on the day of surgery.

  • For tablets, crush the pills and dissolve in a small sip of water or apple juice
  • Make a slushy by putting a small amount of apple juice in the freezer until it is icy. Then add medicine to a spoonful of slushy to give your child.
Some medicines must not be crushed. If you have questions, please call your child’s pharmacist.

The Day before Surgery

child bathing

  • Make sure your child washes well with a fresh bar of soap or liquid anti-bacterial soap (Picture 1). Give special care to all skin folds. Rinse all areas well. Dry well with a clean towel.
  • Report any rashes and skin sores to your child's doctor before admission.
  • Remove nail polish and acrylic nails.
  • Shampoo and rinse your child's hair.
  • Do not shave the area where the surgery will be done.
  • Do not use lotions, creams or powder.
  • Dress your child in freshly-washed clothes.
  • To reduce the risk of surgical infections we ask that you keep yourself and your child away from anyone who is “not feeling well.”
  • Remind your child to wash his or her hands often and follow the doctor’s instructions before and after surgery.

The Day of Surgery

child with a stuffed animal in the hospital

A parent or legal guardian must be present with your child.
  • Bring your insurance form(s) or your insurance card or medical card along with a photo ID to the hospital with you.
  • Bring all proof of insurance and legal guardianship or custody to the hospital.
  • Dress your child in freshly-washed, loose, comfortable clothes.
  • Your child should not wear makeup or jewelry to the hospital.
  • All body jewelry, metal and piercings must be removed.
  • You may bring a favorite clean stuffed animal or blanket for your child to take with him or her to the Operating Room (Picture 2). Please label personal items with your child's name.
  • It is a good idea to bring storybooks, quiet games or coloring books to entertain your child during waiting periods or quiet times. You may also want to bring your own book or magazine.

Asking for Your Help

Two to four weeks after your child’s surgery, you may get a phone call or letter from the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Quality Improvement Department asking a few questions about the surgery and how your child is doing. The information you share will help us learn more about how children recover. Both your identity and your child’s identity will be kept private.
If you have any questions, please call your child’s doctor or your Surgery Center:
  • Westerville Surgery Center at (614) 355-6100
    455 Executive Campus Dr., Westerville, OH 43082
  • Main Campus Surgery Center at (614) 722-2920
    700 Children’s Dr., Columbus, OH 43205

HH-I-378 4/15 Copyright 2015, Nationwide Children's Hospital