Finding the right words to explain an upcoming surgery to your child can be difficult. Surgery can be a stressful time for both children and parents. In fact, it is estimated that between 50 and 75 percent of children undergoing surgery develop significant stress and anxiety in the days leading up to surgery.
Fortunately, many studies have shown that adequately preparing your child before surgery can help decrease their stress and anxiety. According to one recent study, children who underwent preparation for their surgery, including tours and information provided in a developmentally appropriate format, were less likely to have anxiety before surgery and were more likely to report a positive surgery experience.
To help you and your child prepare for an upcoming surgery, we’ve created a child-friendly “Planning for your Surgery” video. This video will walk you and your child through the steps that will occur when you come in for your surgery. It stars an actual Gillette patient and current Gillette staff members in their day-to-day roles. You can view the video here: Preparing for Surgery at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare
If you have questions about your upcoming surgery, contact our Pre-Op department at 651-229-3918 or 1-800-719-4040. If you would like to schedule a pre-surgery tour of our hospital with a Child Life Specialist, please call 651-229-3855.
Kain, Z.V., Mayes, L.C., Caldwell-Andrews, A.A., Karas, D.E. & McClain, B.C. (2006). Preoperative anxiety, postoperative pain, and behavioral recovery in young children undergoing surgery. Pediatrics, 118(2), 651-658.
Perry, J.N., Hooper, V.D. & Masiongale, J.(2012). Reducation of preoperative anxiety in pediatric surgery patients using age-appropriate teaching interventions. Journal of Perianesthesia Nursing, 27(2), 69-81.
About the Author
Cheryl Tveit, RN, MSN, CAPA, is a PeriAnesthesia nurse at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare.