Preparing Your 12 - 18 Year Old for Hospitalization

Teenagers need clear, complete information about what will happen during the hospital stay. They also need to be included in decision making about their care. Teens are often concerned with privacy and body image.

Prepare Yourself First

Be sure to share your fears and concerns with your child's physician. Have all of your questions answered before the day of surgery.

Preparing Your Teen

You know your teen best. At times your teen may seem to handle the details of surgery very well. At other times he may seem overwhelmed. The following are suggestions that may help you when talking to your teen:

Before Surgery

  • Discuss the reason for surgery.
  • Discuss the type of surgery and where on the body it will be performed.
  • Review with your teen that he will not be awake during the surgery and that the anesthesiologist will be with him during the entire procedure.
  • Discuss the importance of not eating or drinking the morning of the surgery.
  • Reassure your teen that you will remain in the hospital during their surgery and see them when they wake up in the Recovery Room.
  • Suggest that your teen bring items from home to keep them busy while waiting for surgery.
  • Encourage your teen to ask a lot of questions and express how they are feeling.

Day of Surgery

  • Your teen will meet medical staff trained in pediatric/adolescent care.
  • Usually there is time to settle in and relax before going to surgery.
  • A short time before surgery, your teen will be taken to the surgical area (the pre-op unit, 2nd floor). Two adults may go with the patient at this time.
  • You will meet with some of the operating room staff including the anesthesiologist. Encourage your teen to ask any questions they may have at this time.
  • Your teen will go with this team to the operating room. A staff member will guide you to the appropriate waiting area. This is a time to reassure your teen that you will remain in the hospital, waiting for him to wake up after surgery and be reunited with them in the recovery room.
  • Nursing staff will provide you and your teen with information about post-operative care.

If you have any questions or would like more information on helping your teen adjust to going to the hospital, please contact the Child Life Department at 727-767-4323. If you have questions regarding surgery time, please call Pre-Admission Testing at 727-767-8653 or 1-800-456-4543 x78561.