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Preparing for Surgery

It’s now time to schedule your surgery. You’ve received all of the necessary information as it relates to your surgical procedure. Your surgeon has provided specific instructions to physically prepare you for your surgical procedure (i.e. food intake, medications, etc.). She has also outlined what you can expect prior to, during and after surgery. However, even with all of this information in hand, you are still not fully prepared for surgery.

The purpose of the following list is to help outline other preoperative tasks and considerations that are not immediately related to your surgical procedure. We hope you find this helpful.

Discuss timing issues with your doctor.

Assess your work and/or family schedule, and determine what is the most favorable period given your other commitments. Do you need surgery in the immediate future or, if needed, can you safely wait until a more convenient time?

Bring someone with you to your pre-surgical appointments to take notes, or bring a portable recorder.

You will receive a lot of information in a very short amount of time; it may be difficult remember everything.

Purchase postoperative prescriptions and necessary medical supplies before surgery.

Filling prescriptions in advance enables you to have the medication(s) on hand immediately following your procedure. This also enables you to work out any insurance issues and avoid the risk of the medication being unavailable. Also, buying dressings, ointments, gauze and any other necessary supplies in advance will help you be better prepared after recovery.

Call your health insurance company.

Be sure that your procedure is covered and preauthorized, and that you’re following all procedures required by the insurance company. You don’t want to receive a surprise medical bill following surgery.

Make any necessary household arrangements for the time you’re in surgery.

Are your household bills paid? Have you prepared a few easy-to-reheat meals ahead of time? Did you make pet sitting arrangements?

Visualize your day-to-day activities during recuperation.

Will you be able to move around your house and/or office, or will you need to arrange for assistance? Will you be able to drive? Be sure to factor in the effects of any post-surgery medications.

Hire help if necessary.

Ask your insurance provider if your treatments or conditions qualify you to have in-home care. Make arrangements for help with child care, housework and errands as well.

Make transportation arrangements to and from the hospital.

Since most surgeries require anesthesia, you may be unable to drive yourself home. Line up a few helpers to be available during your first few days or weeks after surgery. You may need assistance getting to/from follow-up appointments as well.

Choose one trusted person to help you make medical decisions.

It may be difficult to reach a consensus on a medical decision when involving a group of family members and/or friends.

Know your rehabilitation and physical therapy plan ahead of time.

Being prepared for post-surgical rehabilitation will help you to follow through with the program. Rehabilitation plays an essential role in a smooth and successful recovery. Commit to it.

Have financial affairs and all legal documents in good order.

All surgeries involve risks. Ask your surgeon or a patient advocate if you need to complete a durable power of attorney for health care decisions.

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