Learn how pre-surgery tours can help alleviate fears and anxieties for kids preparing for surgery at Renown Children’s Hospital.
When scheduling surgery for a child, many parents find themselves wondering how to break the news and worrying about how their child will respond. Will the child be scared? Will they even understand what surgery is? Thankfully, the Child Life Specialists at Renown Children’s Hospital are here to help you and your child feel confident and prepared for the big surgery day.
Child Life Specialists at Renown Children’s Hospital offer free pre-surgery tours to kids having surgery at Renown Children’s Hospital and their families. The parents, siblings and guardians of the child having surgery are all welcome to attend the pre-surgery tour. One child even brought his pet turtle on the tour! Child Life Specialist Ashley Neych explains that the tours help familiarize kids with the hospital environment, and alleviate the fears and anxieties they may feel leading up to surgery.
The pre-surgery tours, which last about half an hour, are designed to be a fun and age-appropriate way to introduce kids to the hospital environment and surgical workflow. Over the course of the tour, the Child Life Specialists show families where to park, where to enter the building and where to check in for pre-op. Families then visit the operating room, where the child can experience the bright surgical lights and practice putting a mask on. Younger children will also be given their own surgery doll to play with. The dolls wear a mask and hospital gown, and look like they’re totally prepared for surgery, too.
During the tour, kids have the opportunity to have their vital signs taken and see what an IV bag looks like, so they’ll know what to expect on the surgery day. Every tour concludes with a round of ice pops; the same treat the child will enjoy after their surgery. Each child also receives a certificate to prove that they’ve successfully completed the pre-surgery tour!
The Child Life Specialists have found that these tours are also great for putting parents at ease. Scheduling your child for surgery is stressful, so it helps to be prepared. The Child Life specialists also share coping techniques and stress relief tips to help parents address any ongoing fears or concerns.
Since younger kids tend to have a shorter memory and older kids do better with more time to prepare, these guidelines can help you schedule your tour:
- 2-5 years of age: One to five days before the operation
- 10 years of age: One week before the operation
- 18 years of age: Two weeks before the operation
To schedule an appointment for a pediatric surgery preparation tour, please call 775-982-5303 and leave a voicemail message with your name, phone number, your child’s first and last name and your child’s age. A Child Life Specialist will then call you back to schedule a tour and answer any questions you may have.
To learn more about our Child Life Specialists, visit https://www.renown.org/explore/childrens-services/services-and-treatments/child-life-program/.