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:

  1. Registration
  2. Pediatric Anesthesia Resource Center (PARC)
  3. 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.

Learn more or print our helpful guidelines for your next procedure or surgery.

Tips for preparing your child for surgery

  • Keep explanations simple, honest, and age-appropriate.
  • Encourage your child to be involved. Let your child choose items to bring to the hospital (e.g., things to do, comfort items).
  • Have a plan for the return. Include your child by letting him or her choose a postsurgery treat or activity.
  • If you need assistance on how to prepare your child, please contact the Child Life office at (650) 497-8336.
  • Only parents or guardians are allowed in the Treatment Please make prior arrangements for supervision of other children.

Before your child's surgery or procedure

Follow the instructions given to you by your provider, including:

  • Schedule and complete any tests or office visits the doctor requests.
  • Before surgery, you will need to register your child with our hospital. You will get instructions about registration when you schedule your child’s surgery. To preregister 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.
  • Have nonspicy, nongreasy foods available at home for after the surgery.
  • Please trim your child’s nails to prevent infection and reduce scratching.
  • If your child is a girl who is 12 years old or older or has started her period, be prepared to have her provide a urine sample to pre-op when she arrives.

Pediatric Anesthesia Resource Center (PARC) phone call appointment

You will receive two phone calls from PARC. About 30 days before your child’s surgery, the surgery scheduler will work with you to schedule the first phone call. The appointment will take place one to three weeks before your child’s surgery. Please provide a current phone number to the scheduler. If possible, please provide a cell phone number so that we can send you a text reminder of the appointment. This call will last approximately 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the complexity of the patient’s history.

Patients who are 18 years old or older will need to provide the information during the PARC call, unless they give verbal permission for a parent to provide the information to a PARC nurse.

The following information will be discussed during the call:

  • Your child’s family, medical, surgical, and social history.
  • Your child’s diet and any dietary restrictions.
  • The current list of medications your child is taking, including the doses.
  • A comfort plan for the day of the procedure/surgery, including anesthesia and pain management.
  • The discharge plan.

The night before your procedure or surgery

Second PARC phone call

The day before your child's surgery, you will receive the second phone call from the Pediatric Anesthesia Resource Center. This call will occur between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. and usually lasts 5 to 10 minutes. Please have a pen and paper ready to take notes.

The following information will be discussed during the call:

  • The time you should arrive at the Treatment Please allow enough time for traffic, parking, and visitor badges. It is very important to arrive on time, or the surgery may have to be rescheduled. Your child’s arrival time is dependent on the age and severity of other patients who are also scheduled that day.
  • A brief update on how your child is doing, including any recent fever, cough, cold, etc.
  • The eating and drinking instructions specific to your child’s needs, including when to give medications, last time to give foods, and last time to give.
  • The address and location of the Treatment Center.

If you have provided your cell phone number, you may receive a text after 6 p.m. with a reminder of your arrival time and the time to stop giving your child food and drink.

Below are some additional helpful guidelines to prepare for your child's procedure or surgery: