1. Stop eating and drinking when you are told to do so.
2. Tell your doctor, nurse and anesthesiologist about EVERY medication you take, including all vitamins, minerals, over-the-counter, alcohol beverages, any street drug, and any illegal substance you ingest or inhale. This is to minimize any possible interactions with anesthesia. Bring a list of everything that you take.
3. Stop or curb your smoking before the day of surgery, to decrease your chances of having a difficult time awakening from anesthesia.
4. Have someone you trust come with you, to drive and be your patient advocate. This person must not be a minor.
5. Do not wear any makeup. Keep nail polish off of at least 1 finger on each hand to allow the finger clip, which measures your oxygen level, to pick up your reading.
6. Ask questions about anything about which you are unsure. Don’t allow yourself to be rushed or pushed into anything without having all your questions answered.
7. Leave all your valuables, jewelry & money at home.
8. Be ACTIVE in your care. Make sure everyone asks you your name, your birth date, your doctor’s name and what procedure you’re having. If anything is incorrect, then SPEAK UP and ask questions to clarify.
9. DON’T sign your consent form until your doctor has explained everything to your satisfaction.
10. Make sure the CORRECT surgery site is marked.
11. Ask about “TIME OUTS”, to make sure the entire operating staff stops and pays attention to YOUR information before the procedure begins.
12. After surgery, do not attempt to get out of bed until the post-anesthesia nurse feels it’s safe to do so.
13. Tell your nurse about your pain, or if you’re having any problems breathing, chest pain, nausea or any concerns. Don’t be afraid to ask the staff if they have washed their hands before starting any of your care.
14. Have your patient advocate pay attention to your discharge instructions, of which they will sign and get a copy. [The patient usually doesn’t remember these instructions because anesthesia medications may cause amnesia.] These instructions include what you need to know, such as when and who to call for a problem.
15. Ask when you can resume your normal medications and normal activities, if you require any physical therapy and when you need to follow up with the doctor.
Remember to be aware of what is going on around you. If in doubt, ask. Same day surgery procedures are surgical events and should be treated as such.
Patrica Lewis RN is a same day surgery nursing risk manager. Learn how you can have a safe same day surgery experience by listening to Pat Lewis share her expertise with you.