For parents

Bringing your child for an operation

When you bring your child into hospital, we understand that anxieties and personal experiences can shape the way that you approach the day. It can also make a big impression on your child.

We want you to know that your child’s welfare is our top priority; we hope to make your stay with us as stress free and informative as possible.

The Paediatric Day Unit (PDU) is an eight-bedded unit which manages planned surgery, some emergency surgery, and medical investigations.  We have a small but very experienced mix of paediatric registered nursing staff and healthcare assistants, who will welcome you to the unit.  

Please make sure that your child is fasted appropriately before the surgical procedure. You should have received a letter about this before admission.

On the afternoon or early evening before admission, staff from PDU will call you to make sure you have all the information you need. We may check certain details or need to confirm your understanding of the planned surgery. This is also a chance for you to ask us any questions and go to sleep feeling better prepared for the next day.

All planned operations will normally start off in the Paediatric Day Unit. If your child requires an overnight admission they will move to the inpatient ward after surgery.

The nurses will start our documentation to ensure we have the most up to date information necessary about your child and their circumstances. Your nurse will also ask you some questions about Safeguarding (child protection).  These questions are standard and asked to all children who come into contact with staff across the hospital. Read more about Safeguarding. 

We will also take your child’s observations, such as temperature, pulse, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels using a finger sensor.

We will also need to weigh your child, and occasionally measure height too.

If the consent form for surgery wasn’t signed before admission, then the surgeon will ask you to review it and sign it with them. The anaesthetist will also come to see your child and ensure they are fit enough to have a general anaesthetic, they will also be able to discuss with you questions you and your child may have about this.

A play specialist will approach you and ask permission to do some preparation work with your child before going for surgery. We highly recommend that you embrace this and work with us to diminish some myths and fears about anaesthetics and operations, which your child (or even you) may have. Children nearly always cope with the day better if they have the chance to understand certain things and do not experience unexpected situations.  After this, there are plenty of toys, games and also TVs to help keep your child entertained.