Preparing for Surgery - Milwaukee, WI - Ascension Wisconsin

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Preparing for Surgery

The following general information will help you understand what to expect and how to prepare for your surgery at any Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare facility. Specific information may vary depending on the type of procedure you are having, so it is important that you follow your doctor’s specific instructions first and foremost.

Our goal is to relieve any concerns you may have about surgery and to meet or exceed your expectations by providing you with exceptional care.

Before Surgery

  • Follow the instructions on your insurance card to pre-certify your surgery with your insurance company. Depending upon your insurance plan, you may be asked to pay your deductible or co-pay on or before the day of your surgery.
  • Approximately one week before your surgery, a hospital representative will call you for pre-registration information and will answer any questions or concerns. You will be asked for insurance information and medical history, including medications, allergies, the surgeries you have had, as well as any medical conditions you are being treated for. You will receive important instructions regarding your procedure, including instructions on diet and medications you can take within 12 hours of surgery.
  • If testing is required prior to your procedure, you doctor’s office will contact you with instructions and schedule any pre-admission appointments.
  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight unless you are given other instructions. Do not smoke or use alcohol or recreational drugs for at least 24 hours before surgery. 
  • Make arrangements for transportation home from your surgery. You must have a responsible adult available to drive you home.

Day of Surgery

  • Bathe or shower the night before or the morning of surgery using antimicrobial soap. 
  • Dress comfortably in clothes that are easy to remove.
  • Do not wear make-up, perfume, lotions, powder or nail polish. 
  • Do not take any medication unless instructed to do so by your physician.
  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight unless you are given other instructions. You may brush your teeth and rinse your mouth. Do not swallow any water.

What to Bring

  • Copies of any advance directives documents, such as a Living Will or Power of Attorney. If you do not have an advance directive, you may download one in English or Spanish.
  • Insurance card(s), Medicare and/or Medicaid card(s) 
  • Inhalers, CPAP machine, eye drops, cane, walker or crutches, if applicable
  • List of all medications including names, doses and time taken 
  • Toiletry items if you are staying in the hospital: soap, lotion, shavers, cosmetics, comb/brush, robe, etc.
  • Leave valuables at home, including cash, credit cards, checkbooks, jewelry, cell phones, laptops, etc.
  • Arrive a few minutes early and check in at the Admissions desk

After Surgery

  • You will be taken to a recovery room where your vital signs and incision will be monitored.
  • Your IV will stay in until you are able to drink.
  • The amount of time spent in recovery will vary depending on the procedure.
  • Your doctor will order pain medication to keep you comfortable. Make sure you tell your nurse if you are experiencing undue pain, nausea or other concerns.
  • Your nurse may have you perform simple exercises following surgery to help prevent complications. This may include deep breathing, coughing, leg exercises or ankle pumps.
  • Members of your medical team will talk with you and your family about how the procedure went and answer your questions.
  • If needed, your surgeon or nurse may schedule physical therapy and rehabilitation.

Returning Home

  • You will be discharged with written home care instructions, along with any prescriptions your doctor prescribes.
  • Because of the effects of medication and anesthesia, you may not drive yourself home after surgery. It is important that you make plans to have another responsible adult drive you home.
  • If possible, have an adult stay with you the evening of your surgery. A nurse will call you in one or two days to see how you are feeling.
  • Fatigue is a common effect following surgery. Some people experience nausea from general anesthesia. Plan to get lots of rest, take your pain medication with food and make your follow-up appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.
  • Do not operate mechanical devices or use alcoholic beverages for 24 hours.

If you have questions, contact the surgery department at the facility where you surgery is scheduled.

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