After you and your surgeon have made the decision to proceed with elective surgery, you are required to liase with the hospital booking office. An administrative officer from the hospital will then contact you when there is a date for your surgery. Closer to the actual date, you will generally be asked to call the booking office to confirm your arrival time. At this point a nurse will also speak to you to ensure you have received any preoperative instructions, including fasting times.
The most common scenario is for you to come to hospital on the day of your surgery. If you have any significant medical conditions, your surgeon may refer you to be assessed by an anaesthetist at the Pre-admission Clinic well before the surgery, in order to safely plan your care. If you are not referred to the clinic, you will be reviewed by an anaesthetist on the day of your surgery.
On the day, you will be required to arrive several hours prior to the scheduled procedure to allow time for the admissions paperwork and process. You will be directed to the Day of Surgery Admissions Ward, where the nurses will check your baseline observations such as blood pressure, and prepare you for the operating theatre.
When you are transferred to the operating theatre complex, you will meet the anaesthetic team looking after you. This will include one or more anaesthetic doctors and an anaesthetic nurse. They will review your medical history and discuss the options for your anaesthetic care and postoperative pain management. You will be able to ask questions and ensure that you understand the plan for your care and any risks involved.
The anaesthetic team will be with you throughout the procedure, looking after your heart, lung, brain and other vital system function while you are unconscious, and aiming to have you as comfortable as possible when you awake at the end.
When surgery is finished, they will transfer you to the Recovery Room, where a nurse will closely monitor your early recovery from the surgery and anaesthetic.
If your surgery requires you to stay in hospital, you will then be transferred to the ward, where your family can meet you. If you are having day surgery, you will be transferred to a second stage recovery or discharge lounge where you will complete your recovery. A nurse will explain the post-operative instructions and medications to both you and the person who will drive you home and stay with you for at least the first night after surgery.
While we do our best to ensure the admission process is efficient, it is not uncommon for there to be delays at various stages of your hospital stay. For example, your procedure may be delayed by another patient requiring emergency surgery. Unexpected difficulties in anaesthesia or surgery may also mean your procedure may take longer than anticipated. We will always do our best to communicate with you and your family regarding any changes or delays, and your safety is central to everything we do.