Getting Ready For Surgery

checking a list of itemsWe begin discharge planning for our patients on the day of admission. Some questions that you should consider to prepare for this process are as follows:

  1. Are you able to walk without difficulty? Do you require oxygen via a tank to breathe? Do you need assistance with your daily activities in order to complete them such as dressing, bathing, or preparing meals?
  2. Do you presently live with anyone? If you live alone, is there someone who would be able to assist you with around-the-clock care? Have you required any home healthcare or rehabilitation services in the past? If so, what is the name of the agency or facility that provided care to you?
  3. Do you use any assistive devices such as a rolling walker, cane, bedside commode, rollator or electric chair?
  4. Notify your surgeon one week before your surgery date if you are taking any blood thinners, for example, Coumadin.

Please attempt to work daily with the physical therapist and/or the nurses for mobility and exercises. We know that often you will not feel up to participating, but it is important in order to help determine your discharge needs and to prevent any complications that can occur from inactivity.

Your Doctor, Nurse, Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Respiratory Therapist, Dietitian, Case Manager and Social Worker all work as a team to assist you with identifying any discharge needs SPECIFIC to you as our patient.

Making a plan prior to surgery will help ease the worry of going home after your surgery.

Tips for Planning Your Surgery

Use this checklist to prepare before your surgery:

  • Choose a family member or friend to help you through this process. This will need to be someone that can help take an active role in your recovery such as laundry, vacuuming, grocery shopping and driving, because you will be on lifting and driving restrictions.
  •  Arrange for someone to take care of your pets while you are in the hospital.
  • Have a friend or family member be the “communicator” to help relay messages and update family and friends about your condition.
  • Take care of personal errands before the day of surgery.
    • Clean house
    • Get a haircut
    • Pay bills in advance or ask someone to assist with finances while in the hospital
  • Prepare your meals and freeze them ahead of time.
  • Have your advance directive in place before having surgery. An advance directive is a legal document that specifies what actions should be taken for your health in the event that you are no longer able to make decisions due to illness. You can appoint a person to make such decisions on your behalf.

The Evening Before Surgery

  • Do not drink any alcohol products or use tobacco 24 hours before surgery.
  • Do not have anything to eat or drink after midnight (this includes gum, candy, mints or fluids).  This helps prevent nausea associated with anesthesia.
  • You can brush your teeth the morning of your surgery but do not swallow the toothpaste or water.
  • You will be instructed by your surgeon if you have a specific medication that needs to be held before your surgery.  Otherwise, take your morning medications with small sips of water.
  • You are instructed to take a shower the day before surgery and the morning of surgery using a special antibacterial soap. You will also be provided wipes when you arrive on the day of surgery.  Please follow these instructions:
    • Use soap with washcloth.
    • Wash all areas of the body, except face and groin area.
    • Rinse well.
    • Do not apply any lotions, powder, deodorant or cream.
    • Do not wear make-up to surgery.
    • Remove all nail polish.
  • If you start having cold symptoms, chilling, running a fever, or an acute illness the day before surgery, CALL YOUR SURGEON (865-632-5900 – Knoxville office or 865-481-0183 – Oak Ridge office.)

The Day of Surgery

You will be instructed of the arrival date and time to check in at registration before surgery.

Upon arrival, you will go to the Patient Services area, also called Registration or Patient Registration.

Allow time for traffic and parking.

Please be sure to bring the following items to the hospital on your surgery day:

  • An updated list of medications that includes name, dosage, and how many times a day you are taking the medication.
  • A list of all of your allergies and side effects.
  • A list of close contacts and phone numbers in case of an emergency.
  • Assistive devices (glasses, hearing aides, dentures, CPAP or BiPAP machine)
  • Your insurance card (company, policy/group numbers)
  • Your driver’s license or photo ID
  • Personal hygiene items (optional: toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant)
  • Comfortable clothes for the ride home

DO NOT Bring: 

Leave all money, jewelry, valuables and medications at home.

Surgery Planning Checklist

  • Have you chosen someone to help you after surgery?
  • Have you designated someone to be in charge of communicating to family and friends?
  • Have you arranged for someone to pick you up to go home after you’ve been discharged?
  • Have you arranged for someone to run your errands (grocery store, pharmacy, post office, cardiac rehab)?
  • Have you arranged for someone to take you to your appointments?
  • Have you taken care of your bills and mailed payments?
  • Do you have an advance directive?
  • Did you quit smoking before surgery?
  • Do you know how to use your incentive spirometer?