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Things to Do Before Your Surgery


Preparing Your Home

During the first few weeks at home after surgery, you will begin to adapt what you learn in the Hospital to your own setting. Prior to surgery, you will need to prepare your home for recovery.

  • Store items within easy reach. Take items you may need out of low cabinets or shelves prior to surgery because you will not be able to reach them after surgery.
  • Prepare meals ahead of time and store in the freezer. Have your favorite home delivery numbers handy!
  • Ask a family member or support person to be available to assist with your care.

Safety Checklist

Reduce clutter.
 
Remove loose wires and cords.
 
Smooth out rugs and anchor them to the floor.
 
Place nonskid tape or mats at the sink.
 
Use a nightlight in the bathroom.
 
Turn on lights when you get up at night.
 
Secure rugs and treads on the stairs.

Preoperative Instructions

Be sure you understand all preoperative instructions. If you have questions or concerns, please discuss them with your surgeon or call the HSS Patient Education team at 212.606.1263.

  1. Before your surgery, you will be scheduled for an appointment with an internist at HSS who will:
    • Review and/or perform any necessary diagnostic tests.
    • Perform a medical exam to make sure you are safe for surgery.
  2. Unless you are told otherwise, continue to take medication already prescribed by your own physician.
    • Consult your physician regarding aspirin products. Patients with cardiac stents should continue to take their aspirin or other blood thinning products.
    Extremely Important: Always have a list of your current medications and the dosages, so that the correct medication and dosage can be prescribed for you while you are in the hospital. You should also have contact information for your local physician, and any details on medical information, allergies, or past reactions to anesthesia.
  3. You will also be scheduled for presurgical testing approximately 1 to 3 weeks prior to surgery where:
    • You will check in on the first floor to Patient Access Services on the day of your presurgical testing.
    • The presurgical screening staff will perform routine diagnostic testing to be sure you are ready for surgery, including taking a blood sample for testing, a urine specimen and an electrocardiogram (EKG).
    • You should bring a list of current medications and a detailed account of prior medical, surgical and family health history.
    • The nursing staff will request and review information as part of a comprehensive medical history to add to your patient database profile.
    • The nursing staff will provide instruction on preparation for surgery.
  4. HSS staff will make an appointment for you to attend the preoperative patient education class. The class is approximately 60 to 75 minutes long. During the class, patient educators will:
    • Review the surgical process.
    • Discuss setting realistic expectations, patient safety, mobility, pain management and the prevention of complications (infection and blood clots).
    • Provide information about:
      • Skin preparation, nutrition and diet restrictions before surgery.
      • The preoperative patient phone call and how patients obtain general presurgical information. The preoperative phone call to the patient the day before surgery will include:
        • Specific medication and diet instructions
        • The time and place to arrive.
  5. You may wish to review and plan your post-Hospital care with Case Management Services (212.606.1271) before admission. The Preadmission Program offers patients and their families the opportunity to receive assistance before the patient is admitted for surgery. This program enables you to plan your hospitalization and discharge needs in a timely, comprehensive manner.

  6. Prepare for your return home from the Hospital. It helps you maximize your options and make decisions in a more relaxed way.
    All patients must call the Hospital’s presurgical information line at 212.606.1630 and listen to a pre-recorded message within 48 hours of your scheduled surgery for general instructions and a review of the pre-Hospital process.

  7. Please complete the Health Care Proxy form and bring it with you on the day of admission. (Or bring one you may already have previously completed.) This is a form authorizing another person, designated by you, to make decisions with your physician about your care, should this become necessary.

  8. A nurse from the Call Center will contact you one business day prior to your surgical date (Friday for Monday surgical cases) with more detailed instructions, usually between 1:00 pm and 7:00 pm.

  9. Wash the surgical area (front, side and back) with the antiseptic soap solution at the end of your last bath or shower before surgery. The solution should be rinsed and removed after application. Do not shave your legs the day before or the day of surgery. Specific instructions will be provided at the presurgical screening appointment, the preoperative education class and during the preoperative phone call.

  10. Please do not bring a sleep apnea machine. Patients with sleep apnea are generally required to stay overnight in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) to be monitored and observed. Do not bring in the machine, but please bring in the mask, tubing and settings.

  11. The use of nicotine products (ie, cigarettes, cigars, gum or patches) has been shown to increase risk of complications following surgery. They can inhibit bone and wound healing by decreasing blood flow to the surgical site. They can also increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) a.k.a. blood clots. Please discuss smoking cessation with your doctor.

  12. You, your family member or support person will be instructed to go to the Patient Access Services in the first floor lobby.