Inpatient Surgery: What to Expect
Inpatient surgery requires you to spend at least one night in the hospital. Whether your surgery is performed on an inpatient basis depends on the complexity of the procedure, the time required for recovery and in some cases, your overall health and general condition.
Your Riverside surgeon and staff will be happy to explain your particular procedure and what you should expect in terms of pain management, your rehabilitation or the type of home assistance required. Don't hesitate to ask questions. The Riverside Nurse service is also a good resource for information about surgery preparation and recovery. They can be reached at (757) 595-6363 or 1-800-675-6368.
Regardless of the procedure performed, your inpatient experience will follow along these lines.
- Need for a second opinion on your surgery.
- Hospital and health care providers' status as "in-network" or "preferred."
- Deductibles for hospital services.
- Limits on length of stay.
- Coverage for hospital rehabilitation services.
- After-care services for your surgery, such as physical or occupational therapy. (Ask whether the therapists must be from an approved list and how many visits or sessions are covered.)
- Any medical equipment and whether they must be obtained from approved vendors.
- Home health care coverage, what type, and for how long.
- Go through the house and place frequently used items within arm's reach.
- To prevent falls, move rugs that might get caught on your crutches or a surgical shoe.
- Rearrange furniture to allow you to move around easily on crutches or a surgical shoe.
- Make sure you have a sturdy chair with arms in the room where you will spend most of your time. Place a table, wastebasket, phone and TV remote control nearby.
- Buy or prepare and freeze meals in advance.
- Take care of important paperwork and get caught up on bills
- Buy a long-handled grabbing device. Depending on your procedure, you may not be able to reach down or over to pick up things.
- Ask neighbors, friends and family for help in advance.
- Donate your blood. Because you may require a blood transfusion during or after your surgery, you may be asked to donate your own blood.
- Pre-operative testing. You'll need to go for Preoperative Assessment testing before your operation or on the day of your surgery. Call Riverside scheduling at (757) 989-8830.
- Exercising. You'll be more comfortable during recovery if the muscles of both legs are strong enough to support you as you move on crutches or on a surgical shoe. Strong arm muscles will help you get up from a sitting position.
- Nutrition. Your body needs to be in the best condition possible before the stresses of surgery. This means you should try to lose weight if you are overweight. Everyone should eat a healthy, well balanced diet and increase your intake of calcium, iron and vitamin C. Calcium is important for building and maintaining bone strength. Iron builds red blood cells, which help healing. Vitamin C improves the absorption of iron into the body.
- The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of calcium is 1000 to 1200 milligrams a day.
- The RDA for iron is 8-18 milligrams a day
- The RDA for vitamin C is 75-90 milligrams a day
- Do not have anything to eat or drink after midnight before your surgery.
(This includes mints, chewing gum, coffee, tea or water.) Since you'll be using anesthesia, it's essential that your stomach is empty during surgery.
- If you smoke, cut down or quit as soon as possible. Smoking changes blood flow patterns, delays healing and slows recovery. If you haven't stopped yet, it is very important that you do not smoke after midnight before your surgery or the first 24 hours after. Please be advised that Riverside Regional Medical Center is a non-smoking hospital.
- If you drink, do not consume any alcohol for at least 48 hours before surgery.
- If you use any type of controlled substances, tell your doctor. Narcotics and other drugs can have an impact on your surgery.
- Take a shower or bath the night before your surgery to help reduce the risk of infection.
- Do not shave the area of your surgery.
- Do not wear any make-up, lipstick or nail polish.
- Low heeled walking shoes with non-skid soles or tennis shoes. No open heel shoes or clogs.
- Pajamas and a short bathrobe
- Loose fitting, comfortable clothing wear when you get up and move after surgery
- Toilet articles and any other needed personal items.
- Bring any orders given to you by your doctor and give them to the person who admits you.
- Insurance card, driver's license or other government issued-issued ID
- A list of your home medication including nonprescription or herbal items along with a list of :
- What you take them for
- How often you take them (unless on the medication packaging)
Leave all your valuables at home--money, jewelry and credit cards.
If you use an inhaler, please bring it
- At the hospital, you'll take care of some hospital admission paperwork. Don't forget to bring your insurance card and a driver's license or other government-issued ID.
- In the pre-surgery unit, a nurse will speak with you and verify your health history and allergies.
- You'll put on a gown and lay on a stretcher. From here on out, you'll be wheeled to the various areas for your surgery and recovery.
- Intravenous fluids will be started to provide you with medication and fluid during surgery and for a day or two after your operation.
- You may receive medication to help you relax and dry out your mouth.
You'll be given general, spinal, or epidural anesthesia.
- You may be surprised how quickly after your surgery the nurses have you up and moving around.
- It's important after surgery to cough and breathe deeply to help your lungs remain clear.
- You'll also need to change positions with the help of a nurse about every 2-4 hours to help keep your skin and blood flow healthy.
Usually, you'll be discharged once you meet rehabilitative milestones such as getting in and out of bed unassisted and walking a short distance.