Preparing for your child’s operation:
A guide for parents

Building up to the big day

When it comes to discussing your child’s operation with them, honesty is the best policy. While we all want to avoid worrying our children, telling them they’re going on an exciting trip (for example) can simply cause bigger problems, not least with issues of trust, once the reality dawns.

Similarly, telling your child too far in advance can backfire, leading to rising anxiety as the date draws near. Bringing it up in conversation a few days before the procedure is usually best.

While you’re the best judge of the appropriate level of detail for your child (older children will often have a good idea of what’s happening following the consultation), we advise keeping things simple. Focus on why the operation’s being done, and how it will benefit them. Practical details, like what toys they’ll want to bring, can be a useful distraction and help them feel involved.

Visiting The Portland Hospital

You can visit The Portland Hospital wards at your consultation or before surgery – whichever you prefer. A member of the team will be happy to arrange this for you.

If your child has any specific anxieties – a needle phobia for instance – please let us know in advance and we’ll do our very best to help. The Portland Hospital’s play specialists can also help with pre-surgical problems, and distraction therapy to help your child cope with any discomfort after their operation.


What to bring with you 

As well as nightwear and toiletries, it can also be a good idea to bring a favourite toy or a comforter if your child has one. Electronic tablets and devices are also useful and, of course, absolutely fine for you to bring with you.

Staying with your child

When it’s time to go into theatre, you’re more than welcome to go to the anaesthetic room with your child. You’ll be able to stay until they’re asleep, after which the nurse will accompany you back to your room.

We understand that many parents will want to stay with their child overnight – that’s no problem at all. We can provide a bed so that one parent can remain with the child.

If you’d like to find out more, or book a consultation, please get in touch.

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