Preparing for Surgery | Norton Healthcare Louisville, Ky.

Preparing for Surgery

Knowing what to expect can help ease anxiety about surgery. Below are answers to questions you may have about preparing for surgery. Follow these guidelines unless your surgeon directs otherwise.

To make sure you are ready for your surgery, prevent delays on the day of your surgery, decrease your risk of postoperative complications and avoid preventable surgery cancellation, your surgeon’s office may schedule you for pre-admission testing. This may be a phone interview or an on-site visit to one of the hospital pre-admission testing locations. You do not need to fast prior to this appointment. You will be asked about your medical history and medications. You also may complete labs or tests. Pre-admission testing gives you the opportunity to speak with a care team member, discuss important instructions and education for your surgery day, and get answers to any questions you may have.

Your surgeon’s office will schedule your surgery location. For facility-specific amenities, driving directions, maps, parking and valet options, please visit Norton Healthcare.com, then select Find Care and Hospitals.

Your surgeon’s office schedules your surgery time and will tell you when to arrive. It is important that you arrive on time because there are many important safety steps to getting you ready, and these should not be rushed. Every effort is made to ensure your surgery begins on time. On occasion, delays may occur if a patient before you takes longer than anticipated or there is an emergency. If there is a delay, you and your family will be kept informed.

Your surgeon will provide you with instructions on what you can eat before surgery, which may include fasting (sometimes called “NPO,” which means “nothing by mouth”) or special instructions, including enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) protocols. For your safety, you must follow these guidelines or your surgery could be delayed or postponed. Call your surgeon’s office if you have any questions.

Some medications should be taken on the day of surgery, and some should be temporarily stopped. If you take medications on a regular basis, your surgeon or pre-admission testing care team should instruct you on which medication(s) you can take and ensure all your questions have been addressed.

You may be given hospital antiseptic soap in pre-admission testing, along with instructions. Follow those instructions to prepare for your surgery.

  • If you did not have a pre-admission testing appointment or did not receive antiseptic soap at your appointment, you should shower using antibacterial soap (it must read “antibacterial” on the packaging). You should use the antibacterial soap the night before and the morning of your surgery, using a clean washcloth and towels.
  • Do not apply perfume, makeup, lotion, nail polish or baby powder before coming to the hospital.
  • Do not shave on or near your surgical site for 72 hours prior to your surgery.
  • Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and clean, loose-fitting, casual clothing, such as a button-down shirt.
  • If you are given a new medication prescription prior to surgery, fill it as soon as possible and take as prescribed.
  • Prepare your home environment with clean sheets on your bed for your return.
  • If you routinely sleep with a pet in your bed, you should prepare for it to sleep in another area of your home until you are fully healed.

Yes. You should be aware that the person you bring with you may hear private medical history and information about you in the pre-op area. Please let us know if you have privacy concerns. Your guest will be given updates as you progress through surgery, and they will be given home care instructions that you may not remember after surgery.

You also will need someone to drive you home and stay with you for 24 hours after anesthesia, during which time we recommend you make no legal or life-changing decisions. Please be aware that if you do not have someone to accompany you home, your surgery may be canceled. You should not drive for at least 24 hours, possibly longer if specified by your surgeon. This is required to ensure you are safe while the medications you were given wear off.

  • Bring emergency contact information and any important legal forms such as a living will, custody document or durable power of attorney.
  • Bring your photo identification or driver’s license, Medicare and/or insurance card and copayment when you register. Bring any paperwork your surgeon or pre-admission testing care team provided you.
  • Bring your continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) machine with you into the hospital, if you use it. If you are bringing your home equipment such as a CPAP machine, please clean it in advance and let a care team member know you brought it.
  • If you are staying overnight, bring any other items you may need, however, leave these with your guest who can bring your belongings to you once you are settled in.

Leave all valuables at home except eyeglasses, hearing aids or dentures, along with their storage cases. Do not wear jewelry.

The first step is to contact your insurance provider to discuss the details of your surgery coverage, and confirm with your insurance company that all necessary paperwork has been completed. Please make sure Norton Healthcare has your most current insurance information. You also may be contacted by someone from Norton Healthcare’s preregistration department. The preregistration department staff can give you an estimate of your copayment due on the day of surgery.

Hand-washing is the single most important way to prevent infection. Ask your family and friends to wash their hands, and it is OK to remind your care team to do so as well.

If you are a smoker, the sooner you quit, the greater your chance of avoiding surgical complications. It is especially important not to smoke on the day of your surgery or immediately after. Smokers have a higher risk of complications, such as delayed healing and infections. If you need help with this, talk with your surgeon about options.

There are four general categories of anesthesia:

  • Local anesthesia
  • Monitored anesthesia care, also known as sedation
  • Regional anesthesia, such as a block
  • General anesthesia

Discuss with your anesthesia provider the type of anesthesia you are having, describe any prior experiences and ask any questions you may have about your plan of care.

After your surgery, you will be taken to the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU). This is where you will recover from anesthesia under close observation. A nurse will monitor your vital signs and recovery. With your permission, we will keep your family and guests updated about how you are doing. Visitation may be allowed in the PACU for a brief time, and is limited to one to two visitors at a time.

If you had a breathing tube during surgery, your throat may be sore. Generally, this is a temporary discomfort. With your nurse’s and surgeon’s approval, you can try some ice chips to ensure you can swallow, and then you can drink some cold or warm water, whichever makes your throat feel better. You also can use a sore throat spray or throat lozenge to help with the discomfort.

Along with your surgical incision, your body may be sore from the way you were positioned during surgery. Each surgeon may use a different approach, which means you are not always lying on your back. You also may be in one position for a long period of time, which can make you sore.

At certain facilities, Norton Healthcare offers retail pharmacy prescriptions conveniently delivered to you or your designated guest before you leave. When you arrive, let a member of your care team know if you are interested.

Pain management is an important part of your care, and while every effort is made minimize pain, it is normal to experience some discomfort. It is important to speak openly about pain control with your surgeon.

The care management team will determine if you need medical equipment or post-visit services such as physical therapy or home health, and provide you options before you leave.

Your surgeon and care team will decide if you are ready to go home. Before that happens, your home care instructions will be reviewed with you and a guest. All IVs and monitors will be disconnected, and your guest should gather your belongings. You will then be escorted in a wheelchair to your ride. Always call 911 if you are having a medical emergency after leaving.

Your home care instructions may include:

  • Follow-up appointment information
  • Restrictions on activities, such as lifting, walking, driving, etc.
  • When you can take a shower or bath
  • Physical or occupational therapy if ordered by your surgeon
  • Home health information if you need home health
  • Medical equipment information if you need medical equipment
  • When your staples, sutures, Steri-Strips, pumps or drains can be removed and who removes them
  • Incision care instructions and warning signs of infection
  • When to call your surgeon and when to call 911
  • Medication instructions
  • Diet instructions

Visit NortonHealthcare.com/MyNortonChart, where you can access your personal health information. If you cannot find what you are looking for in MyNortonChart, call the medical records department at (502) 629-8766.

When you get your final bill from Norton Healthcare, call the number provided on the bill if you need help or have any questions. You also can visit NortonHealthcare.com and find billing resources under the Patient Resources link. If a provider group, such as anesthesia or surgical assistants, is not employed by Norton Healthcare, it will send you a separate bill, which should include the provider group’s contact information if you have questions or concerns.

Visit NortonHealthcare.com and select Patient Resources, then Say Thanks. Our team appreciates recognition!

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