Preparing For Surgery
A Month Before Surgery
All patients need to see their family doctor 30 days before any surgery to have an assessment done. At your visit, ask your doctor which medications to take prior to surgery, and ask your doctor to complete the letter and form that has been provided for you.
Pre-Admission Clinic (PAC)
The purpose of the Pre-Admission Clinic is to ensure people are well prepared for their operation or procedure. This clinic allows you to stay at home until the day of your operation, instead of being admitted to the hospital one or two days before your scheduled operation.
Patients who will stay in hospital for a minimum of one night following surgery will attend the Pre-Admission Clinic. Check with your physician for your expected length of stay.
This clinic is booked for you before your operation. In some cases this booking may be a day, a week or a month before your operation date. You may also be booked into the clinic on the morning before your operation. This clinic takes approximately 3 to 4 hours. You are welcome to bring a member of your family along.
During this clinic you may have any number of the following activities:
- A nursing assessment of your health needs and learning needs.
- Completion of a medical history and physical examination.
- Teaching about your operation or procedure, what will happen to you and what are the important things you need to know.
- Blood tests, x-rays or a heart tracing.
- Consultation with a medical specialist such as an anaesthetist, internist or cardiologist.
- Consultation with a physiotherapist, dietician, social worker or other therapists.
Should you need assistance at home after surgery, Home Care services are available by calling (306) 655-4300. If you think you will need assistance at home following your surgery, please make arrangements prior to coming to hospital or tell your nurse when in the hospital.
Any questions should be directed to your surgeon's office. Hospital parking is available on an hourly, daily or weekly rate.
The Night Before Surgery
Do not eat solid food after midnight the day before your surgery or your surgery may have to be postponed or rescheduled for your own safety.
- You may have clear fluids until six hours prior to surgery.
- Clear fluids include water; clear juices, clear soft drinks, e.g. ginger ale; tea or coffee.
- Do not have milk, soups or alcoholic beverages.
The Day of Surgery
Continue taking all your medication as usual up to and including the day of surgery unless you have been specifically instructed not to do so. Please bring all your medications to the hospital in their originally labelled containers.
What to Bring with You
- Completed history and physical form and test results (If applicable).
- The surgeon's office letters you have received.
- Your valid Saskatchewan Health Services card and any other relevant health services cards or information.
- Medications which you take regularly in their original labelled containers.
- Slippers with grip soles or running shoes.
- A housecoat that opens completely in the front.
- Personal toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, lotion, comb, hairbrush, denture cup, cordless razor, mouthwash, etc.) in small size containers.
- Reading or activities (cards, crossword puzzles, small games, etc).
- Case for glasses (if applicable).
- All your personal belongings should fit into a carry-on size tote bag or small duffel bag.
What Not to Bring with You
- Large quantities of clothing or other articles.
- St. Paul's Hospital is not responsible for the loss of money or other personal possessions.
Before, During & After Surgery
Immediately Before Surgery
- Makeup, nail polish, jewellery and hair clips will be removed before you go to surgery. Dentures or partial plates, contact lenses, eyeglasses, hearing aides and any other prosthesis will also be removed.
- A nurse will ask you to put on a patient gown if you have not already done so, and to go to the bathroom before going to the operating room.
- A nurse will check your pulse and blood pressure. A nurse may put a needle into your vein (IV or intravenous) to give you fluid and/or medications either while you are in your room or when you are in the operating room. You may also receive an oral medication to help you stay calm.
- A person from the operating room will come for you. You will be transported to the holding area for the operating room either by walking, in a wheelchair or lying on a stretcher.
- In the holding area, the anaesthesiologist will speak to you. You may also ask to see the surgeon if you have further concerns. The nurse will come and take you into the operating room.
- All the staff in the operating room wear special clothing, caps and masks. The room is very bright and cool.
- A nurse or technician will greet you and check your identification bracelet. They will also ask you if you have any allergies.
- They will help you to get comfortable on the operating table and may position your arms or legs.
- A heart monitor and blood pressure cuff will be attached to your chest to help check your vital signs during surgery.
- A device that looks like a clothespin (oximeter) will be attached to your finger to measure the amount of oxygen in your blood.
- The time you will spend in the operating room is estimated. If your surgery takes longer it does not mean that anything is wrong.
- After surgery they will wake you in the operating room, but you will probably not remember. Then you will be moved into the Recovery Room (Post Anaesthesia Care Unit, PACU) where the nurse will continue to try to wake you. This room may seem noisy and bright as you awaken. There will be other patients in the Recovery Room.
- Your vital signs will be checked frequently.
- If you need oxygen, you will have a mask or tubing on your face.
The Recovery Room is the area that you will go to immediately after your operation as you recover from the anaesthetic. Specialized nurses keep close watch over you as you become more awake following your operation.
You may have your blood pressure, pulse and bandages checked periodically. When you are ready, a nurse or porter will take you to your room on the nursing unit.
Your family will not be allowed to visit you in the PACU but may be close by in the visiting room if the doctor needs to see them. Once you have been moved to a room on a nursing unit your family and friends can visit you during visiting hours.
Types of Surgery
Day Surgery means that a patient will have an operation or procedure and will go home on the same day. Patients should wear comfortable clothes to come to the hospital. Patients are asked to notify their surgeon's office as to where they can be reached on the day of surgery (if other than at home).
Depending on the type of operation, patients may go to a specific area in the hospital a few hours before an operation or procedure. There they may be given additional information about the operation or procedure.
They will be taken to the operating or procedure room and usually given an anaesthetic. After the operation patients may spend some time in the Day Surgery or recovery area until they are ready to go home.
Although these operations or procedures take less time for recovery, it is important to understand that patients will require help going home after their visit. Patients are asked to make arrangements for someone to drive them home and to stay with them for a while.
Patients will be instructed about follow-up visits with their doctor or other requirements before they leave the hospital. Any patients' questions should be directed to their surgeon's office.
Same Day Surgery
Same day surgery means that patients are admitted to the hospital on the day of their operation and stay a few days following the operation. This approach allows patients to sleep in their own bed the night before their operation. Studies have shown that this approach is beneficial to patients.
Patients are admitted on the day of their surgery. Usually, they will have attended a Pre-Admission Clinic visit a few hours before their scheduled surgery or before coming to the hospital. They will have also visited their doctor.
On the day of the operation, patients arrive at the hospital 2 to 3 hours before their scheduled operation. This time is necessary to make sure that patients are well prepared. Nurses will answer questions and may review teaching information with patients. Patients be given any required medications or pre-operative procedures.
Patients will go to the operating room and have a general or local anaesthetic. A general anaesthetic puts you completely to sleep, whereas a local anaesthetic will put only part of your body to sleep.
After the operation, patients go to the Recovery Room where they may spend several hours. Family members can wait nearby in visiting rooms.
When you are awake and ready, you will be transferred to a nursing unit where you will stay for at least 24 hours.
Most patients stay in hospital for a few days, depending on the type of operation.