Providing the Very Best of Care for Each Child
Having a child undergo surgery is an anxious time for the child and parent. At Winchester Hospital, we do our very best to help relieve that anxiety while providing the very best of care for each child entrusted to us.
Find a surgeon who performs pediatric procedures at Winchester Hospital.
Tours Before Surgery
We offer tours for children who are going to have surgery at Winchester Hospital, to help familiarize them with our hospital and help allay fears.
To arrange a tour for your child at our ambulatory surgery center located at 620 Washington St. in Winchester, please call Ann Mildram, nurse manager, at 781-756-2022. For tours of the main operating room at 41 Highland Ave. in Winchester, please call Lisa Cipriano, nurse manager, at 781-756-7168.
Preparing Your Child for Surgery
Here are some tips and things to keep in mind if your child needs surgery:
- Preparation does not prevent your child from being afraid but will give him/her a sense of what to expect.
- Speak with your child about the surgery. For each year of age, one day of preparation is appropriate. For example, talk to your two-year-old two days before his/her surgery and begin talking to your seven-year-old one-week prior.
- In discussing the surgery, be honest in a way that is appropriate for your child’s age. Consider your child’s personality and past medical experiences.
- Avoid negative words like “painful” or “scary” in describing the experience, as everyone feels pain and emotions differently. Instead you could say, “It might feel like a ‘pinch’ or a ’poke’.” Also avoid using the term “put to sleep,” as your child might associate this phrase with putting a pet “to sleep.” Instead, you could use the term “fall asleep” or “take a nap.”
- Describe the experience to young children in sensory terms – what the child may smell, hear, touch, etc.
- Always encourage your child to discuss his/her feelings and ask questions.
- If appropriate, practice behaviors that your child could use at the hospital if s/he becomes anxious (deep breathing, blowing bubbles, squeezing objects/hands, distraction toys, etc.).
- If your child is interested, practice hospital experiences with dolls and toy medical kits. Discuss any concerns that your child raises.
- Utilize books, videos and the hospital’s pre-operative tour to prepare your child. However, always let your child know that his/her experience could be slightly different than that discussed in the books or videos.
On the Day of Surgery
- Winchester Hospital provides hospital clothing and slippers for your child to change into during the surgery. Patients staying overnight may wear their own clothing, if desired.
- As a comfort measure, bring your child’s favorite toy, book or stuffed animal.
- Try not to bring siblings to the hospital on the day of the surgery until your child has returned to the inpatient floor and is feeling better.
- Remember not to eat or drink around your fasting child.
In the Operating Room
- Your child may walk or ride a stretcher to the operating room.
- If the anesthesiologist and surgeon agree, you may accompany your child into the operating room. The nurse or doctor will help you put on a hat to cover all your hair, a paper coat to cover your clothing and a mask to cover your mouth/nose.
- When you are in the operating room the nurse will show you where to stand so that you don't touch any sterile supplies. After your child is settled on the operating room bed, the nurse will assist you in sitting at your child's side.
- The anesthesiologist will cover your child's mouth and nose with a soft, see-through plastic mask. Small tubes connect the mask to the anesthetic gas that will anesthetize your child for his/her surgery. While this mask is in place you should speak softly and soothingly to your child. Singing a lullaby or telling a favorite simple story may help your child relax.
Effects of Anesthesia
- While going off to sleep your child may display a variety of behaviors, all of which are normal. Your child may giggle uncontrollably, s/he may cry and whimper or you may notice that your child's eyes become unfocused or roll. Your child may struggle as s/he falls asleep. Other children just drop off to sleep without doing anything. All these activities are possible and considered normal.
- It is likely that your child will not remember any of his/her experience in the operating room. It is much more difficult for you as the parent to watch than it is for the child to drift off to sleep.
- Remember that it is important to touch your child while s/he is going off to sleep. You can gently stroke your child’s arm or touch his/her hair. After a while s/he won't be able to see you, but will be able to feel your touch.
- The anesthesiologist will tell you when your child has fallen asleep. You may give your child a kiss on the cheek. The nurse will escort you out of the operating room and direct you to a waiting room.
- It is important to remember that you must leave your child’s side when asked. This can happen at any time if the anesthesiologist thinks that it is no longer appropriate for you to be in the operating room. Your child’s safety is our primary concern.
- The hospital allows only mylar (not latex) balloons to be given to patients.
- Remember that your child’s experience doesn’t end with his/her hospital stay. Talk with him/her and play out the hospital situation repeatedly, in order to deal with any lingering concerns.
Winchester Hospital is recognized as one of the area’s most prominent obstetric hospitals, offering a 24-hour laborist program and a Special Care Nursery for newborns in need of specialized medical care.
Winchester Hospital was the first community hospital in Massachusetts to earn Magnet recognition, which recognizes quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice.