Preparing for Your Child's Procedure
The Procedural or Surgical Clinic Appointment
During a clinic appointment, your child’s provider will tell you about the procedure and give you important information about what to expect while your child is being cared for at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. The provider may order tests or lab work to be done before the procedure or surgery. You will also get instructions about:
- The Pediatric Anesthesia Resource Center (PARC).
- Your child’s comfort plan
This clinic appointment is a great chance to ask any questions you may have about the procedure or the care your child will receive afterwards to recover.
Registration for Procedure or Surgery
Before a procedure or surgery, you will need to register your child with our hospital. You will get instructions about registration when you schedule your child’s procedure or surgery.
To save time on the day of surgery, many parents prefer to pre-register. To pre-register by phone, call (650) 497-8229. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You will need to have your child’s insurance information available.
The Pre-Operative Anesthesia Phone Appointment
A short time before your child’s procedure or surgery, you will likely have a phone appointment with the ‘Pediatric Anesthesia Resource Center’ (PARC). PARC is the pre-operative anesthesia clinic. Anesthesia is the medicine used to drift your child to sleep during a procedure or surgery. The surgical clinic scheduler or PARC medical assistant will help you schedule your PARC phone appointment. The scheduler or PARC medical assistant will let you know if your child’s medical history requires an in person appointment with PARC.
PARC appointments usually last about 30-45 minutes. This phone call or clinic appointment is a critical safety step before your child’s procedure or surgery.
PARC will review with you:
- Your child’s medical history and current medical care.
- Your child’s past medical experiences.
- Your child’s developmental history and any special considerations.
- Care instructions you must follow before the procedure or surgery.
- When and where to bring your child for the procedure or surgery.
- The preliminary comfort plan. If your child has a particular toy, blanket, or other object that helps him/her feel better in uncomfortable situations, let us know.
PARC will give you information about:
- The anesthesia (medicine to drift your child to sleep during the procedure or surgery).
- Pain management (ways we can help your child be comfortable afterwards).
- What to do if you have questions or problems before, during or after the procedure or surgery.
Please contact the Pediatric Anesthesia Resource Center (PARC), at (650) 736-7359 with any questions you have.
Learn about Ford Family Surgery Center
Most procedures or surgeries are done in the Ford Family Surgery Center on the ground floor of Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford.
The Ford Family Surgery Center at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford is a state-of-the-art surgical facility designed specifically for children. To learn more, click here:
Important Safety Instructions to Follow
Stop Food and Drink Before Your Child’s Procedure or Surgery
Your child must stop eating and drinking before undergoing anesthesia for a procedure or surgery. There are life threatening safety risks of undergoing anesthesia with food and drink in the stomach. It is critical for your child’s stomach to be empty before the procedure or surgery.
You will be given instructions about stopping your child’s food and drink before the procedure or surgery. This time of no eating and drinking is called “NPO.” The amount of time your child needs to stop eating and drinking before anesthesia depends on his/her age. These instructions are for your child’s safety during the procedure or surgery.
The Pediatric Anesthesia Resource Center (PARC) will go over these instructions with you. Please ask any questions you have about following these important safety instructions. On the night before the procedure or surgery, follow the instructions from PARC exactly.
Generally the NPO (no eating or drinking) instructions are listed below. To keep your child as safe as possible, if these guidelines are not followed, your child’s procedure or surgery may be delayed or cancelled. A small number of children will receive special guidelines that differ from these. Follow the directions provided by your healthcare provider.
- Stop solid food, candy, and juice (except clear apple juice) at midnight.
- Stop formula and milk 6 hours before the procedure.
- Stop breast milk 4 hours before the procedure.
- Stop all clear liquids 3 hours before the procedure.
Clear liquids include only water, clear apple juice (no pulp, no apple cider), pedialyte, and Gatorade.
Click here to print out the NPO guidelines.
Bathe or Shower Before the Procedure or Surgery
To help lower the risk of your child getting an infection during the procedure or surgery, your child will need to bathe or shower the night before unless otherwise directed by your healthcare provider.
- For babies and children younger than 12 months of age:
Use a regular baby soap that you would normally use on your child.
- For children older than 12 months of age:
Use any regular antibacterial soap the night before.
If you were given CHG wipes at your surgical clinic appointment, use these after bathing as directed.
PARC can answer any questions you have about bathing before the procedure or surgery.
Click here to print out the bathing guidelines.
Ask About Giving Medicine Before the Procedure or Surgery
If your child is currently taking medicine, ask for instructions from the PARC anesthesia provider. Find out if your child should continue the regular medicines before the procedure or surgery. Also ask about whether or not your child may have over-the-counter medicines before the procedure or surgery. Follow the instructions from PARC exactly.
Let Us Know Any Signs of Illness Before the Procedure or Surgery
If your child is feeling sick (for example, fever, cough, rash, diarrhea, etc.) before the procedure or surgery, please call the Pediatric Anesthesia Resource Center (PARC) at (650) 736-7359 from 9am to 5pm Monday through Friday. Call the operating room front desk at (650) 721-2820 from 5PM to 9AM and on weekends.
If parents have signs of illness before your child’s procedure or surgery, please arrange for another legal guardian to bring your child to the hospital. Call the Pediatric Anesthesia Resource Center (PARC) at (650) 736-7359 from 9am to 5 pm or the operating room front desk at (650) 721-2820 from 5pm to 9am if you need assistance.
To protect our patients from infection, parents, visitors, and staff with illness or exposure to contagious diseases are not permitted into the hospital.
Planning for Your Child’s Comfort
What You Can Expect
Some discomfort and pain after your child’s procedure or surgery is expected. However there are many ways we can make your child comfortable. The amount of pain your child may have depends on his/her condition and procedure. It may not be possible to get rid of all of the pain but we will create a plan to control the pain and keep the pain level as low as possible. Controlling pain is an important part of recovering from a procedure or surgery.
Planning for your Child’s Comfort: Before the Procedure or Surgery
Some pain or discomfort after a procedure or surgery is normal. For some parents, knowing what to expect can make things easier for you and your child.
We are committed to taking care of your child’s pain and working with you to make your child as comfortable as possible.
At your child’s clinic appointment, your care provider will discuss the details of your child’s procedure or surgery. They will help you know more about what to expect regarding pain and options for relieving pain after the procedure or surgery. The provider will discuss your child’s need for pain medication and other non-medication options that help relieve pain.
This appointment is a good time for you to partner with the provider about the plan for your child’s pain control. You know your child best and can share what you know works to keep your child comfortable.
Also, your child may feel nervous about the upcoming surgery or procedure. This is completely normal. To help with this, we have Child Life Specialists available to work with your child before their procedure, on the procedure date, and after the procedure.
Your phone appointment with the Pediatric Anesthesia Resource Center (PARC) will prepare you and your child for the day of surgery. Parents can take this opportunity to ask any questions and discuss your child’s comfort plan.
Questions to ask your surgical and anesthesia provider:
- How much pain is expected?
- How long will the pain last?
- What are the options for pain relief after the procedure or surgery?
- What can I do to help my child prepare for his or her recovery from this procedure?
- Can I make a Child Life referral to assist with my child’s anxiety and concerns?
Click here to print out these comfort guidelines.
More Information about Pain and Ways to Help Your Child
Child and Family Life Services
Child Life Specialists are trained professionals who provide pediatric patients developmentally appropriate preparation and support for surgeries and procedures. Specialists also work with children and families to develop coping plans to reduce anxiety and provide opportunities for play and self expression.
If you feel like your child would benefit from Child Life Services, call (650) 497-8336 or click here.
Pediatric Pain Management Team
The pediatric pain specialists are providers who specialize in pain management for children. Your child’s surgical team may ask the Pain Team to help with the plan for managing your child’s pain after surgery. This team provides pain control and symptom management in a variety ways.
In addition to surgical patients, they provide expert consultation for hospitalized patients who are experiencing pain for other reasons including:
- Pain due to an injury
- Pain caused by an illness (cancer, sickle cell anemia, etc.)
- Pain from a treatment for an illness (chemotherapy, radiation, etc.)
- Nausea or other unpleasant symptoms or side effects that persist (itching, etc.)
For further information about the Pain Management Team, click here.