Child Life Services at SurgEase
No matter the child’s age, arriving at the hospital for surgery can be scary—especially if he or she is unsure of what to expect. A Child Life Specialist can ease these fears by preparing children and families for what will happen before, during and after surgery. Research has shown that when children are prepared for upcoming procedures, they have less preoperative anxiety and better outcomes after surgery.
Hello and welcome! This is Bridgeport Hospital SurgEase. People come here to have surgery. Surgery is when the doctor needs to take out or fix something in your body. There are many different kinds of surgery for many different reasons. This book will help teach you what surgery is going to be like.
When you first get here your grownup is going to talk to the person at the registration desk. She lets the doctors and nurses know that you are here. She is going to give you a bracelet with your name and birthday on it. Sometimes she puts it on your wrist and sometimes she puts it on your ankle. We have a special waiting room just for kids; you can wait here and play until a nurse comes to get you.
Next, the nurse is going to take you and your grownup to this room. Here she is going to take your temperature, blood pressure, weigh you and see how tall you are. It’s just like they do at the regular doctor’s office. She is going to ask your grownup questions and she is also going to ask you if you have had anything to eat or drink. It is very important not to eat or drink before you come to have surgery (unless your doctor tells your grownup something different).
After that she is going to give you special pajamas to change into. This is because sometimes we can have germs on our clothes and not know it. We need to keep the germs out of the room where you go to have your surgery because it is very clean. Everyone has to wear special clothes to go in there - even the nurses and doctors!
When that is done you are going to go up the hall a little bit to this room. They look a lot alike and both have big comfy green chairs. This is where you are going to meet the people that will take care of you during your surgery. You are going to meet a doctor called an anesthesiologist. During your surgery, this doctor is going to give you medicine that makes you sleep. It is not like normal sleep at home. In the medicine sleep you don’t hear anything, see anything and most importantly you do not feel anything during your surgery.
Do you see a mask in this picture? The mask goes over your nose and mouth and it is how we give you the sleep medicine. The sleep medicine is air medicine that you breathe in and it makes you go to sleep. You are also going to meet a child life specialist. She is like a hospital teacher. She is going to show you the mask and answer any questions you have. In this room you might get a drink of medicine. This is not the sleepy medicine but it might make you feel silly. Sometimes we give this medicine to kids who are really nervous. While you wait for your surgery you can color or play games with your grownup!
When it is your turn for surgery you are going to come to this room. It is called an operating room or an OR. This is the very clean room that you have your surgery in. There is a lot of stuff in the operating room, but not all of it is for you or your surgery. We just need to keep it somewhere!
There are four things that kids need to know about. The first one you already know. Can you guess what it is?... Your mask! The second one is the big machine with a TV on it. That is what holds the sleepy medicine. The third one is the bed. It is nice and soft. You can either sit or lay down on it. The last one is a balloon! Sometimes it is blue or yellow. When you breathe in through your mask the balloon gets small, when you breathe out through your mask the balloon gets big! Some kids like to try to pop it!
When your surgery is all done you are going to wake up in this room. It is called a post anesthesia care unit, but we just call it the wake up room. When you wake up you may have a blue or pink bandage on your hand or arm. You may also see a tube coming out of the bandage. The nurse will take this off before it is time to go home. While you are in the wake up room you have two very important jobs. Your first job is to tell the nurse or your grown up if you are sore or need anything. The second job is to eat a popsicle for breakfast! After you are awake the nurse is going to have you change back into your clothes and guess what? You get to go pick a prize and go home!
When a child arrives at SurgEase, our Certified Child Life Specialist will guide him or her through the upcoming surgery by:
- Talking with the child about his or her procedure, the overall anesthesia and the hospital experience, using age-appropriate language
- Answering any questions the child may have about the procedure
- Supporting parents or caregivers throughout the child's procedure
- Tours are also available to children and families prior to surgery to explain and answer any questions about the upcoming experience and anesthesia as well as to make arrangements for children with special needs.
Samantha Regina, Bridgeport Hospital’s Child Life Specialist, is an expert in child development with a national certification from the Child Life Council. Samantha sees all children and their families who arrive at SurgEase.
For more information about Child Life Specialist Services at SurgEase, please call (203) 339-6417.