We believe that children (and their families) recover from surgery best if they’re together as much as possible, so we work hard to separate them as little as possible. In most cases, parents come with children into the operating room, and stay with them until they are asleep. (For safety reasons, parents cannot be present during the actual surgery.) When the operation has been completed, parents are brought to the recovery room, so that they can be with their child as he or she awakens from anesthesia. Most children will have no memory of any part of the day when their parents were not with them.
Children’s Hospital University of Illinois (CHUI) also provides the following:
- Parental visiting 24 hours a day
- Parental rooming-in with child
- Parent support groups
- Pediatric Pain Service
- Child Life Center
- Clinical Nurse Coordinator who provides counseling and healthcare services to patients and their families
Many operations that once required hospitalization can now be safely done on an outpatient basis. Depending on the child, this can include such procedures as hernia or hydrocele surgery, excision of cysts, and so on. For a child, it means the comfort of returning home after the immediate recovery period; for a family, the least disruption possible. For example, a child who has a procedure in the morning is often ready to go home by the early afternoon. (Children still receive the complete evaluation of a pediatric surgeon and pediatric anesthesiologist, and are carefully monitored until they have completely recovered from anesthesia.)
It’s sometimes helpful for parents and children to make a preoperative visit to the operating area before the day of surgery. We generally arrange this at the time of an initial consultation.