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Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center

1325 S Cliff Avenue
P.O. Box 5045
Sioux Falls, SD 57117-5045

New Patient and Surgery Preparation Resources

Thank you for trusting the experts at Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center with your care. Patients and families can view the resources below to help prepare for a surgery appointment.

Before Surgery

Once you and your doctor decide that you will have surgery, follow these instructions:

  • Make an appointment for a history and physical (H&P) examination. This examination must take place within 30 days of your procedure. Bring any information from your surgeon to this appointment so your physician can appropriately prepare you for your procedure. Bring all your medications and all vitamin or herbal supplements to discuss with your physician.
  • Arrange a ride home. If you will leave the hospital the day of your surgery, you must have a responsible adult with you to drive you home. You also should plan to have a responsible adult in your home for the 24 hours following your discharge.
  • Complete the preregistration process. You can preregister online.

Someone from our Admitting Department may call you to confirm your demographic and insurance information.

Day of Surgery

The Morning of Surgery

What to bring to the hospital

  • Your health care directive, if you have one
  • Appropriate, comfortable clothing for discharge, taking into account casts, slings and movement restrictions
  • Your CPAP machine, if you use one

What not to bring to the hospital

  • More than $10 in cash
  • Valuables such as credit cards, cellphones or laptops
  • All jewelry must be removed prior to surgery, including wedding rings and piercings

What medications to take
Unless instructed otherwise by your primary physician or surgeon, take your usual medications the morning of surgery. Take pills with only enough water to swallow.

If you regularly take any of the following medications, it is especially important that you take them the morning of your surgery:

  • Long-acting narcotic pain medications
  • Beta-blocker blood pressure medications
  • Some cardiac medications
  • Steroid medications
  • Medications taken for seizures
  • Medications taken for acid reflux disease
  • Asthma medication

What medications to avoid

  • In most cases, blood thinners such as Coumadin (warfarin) and Plavix must be discontinued prior to surgery. Ask your surgeon and primary physician for specific instructions.
  • Certain herbal supplements should be avoided prior to surgery because they can increase bleeding.

What to eat and drink the morning of surgery

Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your surgery, unless your primary physician or surgeon has instructed you otherwise. "Nothing by mouth" means no gum, water, mints, candy or chewing tobacco. Your surgery will be delayed or cancelled if you do not follow the following rules:

  • No clear fluids or gum within two hours of surgery
  • No light meals, candy or chewing tobacco within six hours of surgery
  • No heavy or high-fat meals within eight hours of surgery

Preparing for the Operating Room

It is important that all members of your care team know about significant parts of your health history, such as medications, allergies, implants and when you last had something to eat or drink. Important information is recorded in your chart, but you may also be asked the same or similar questions by more than one of your caregivers.

  • You are weighed and asked to change into a hospital gown and slippers. Your clothing is placed in a garment bag and taken to a locked closet area while you are in surgery.
  • Glasses, dentures and hearing aids are given to your family. (You are not to wear any jewelry or contact lenses to the hospital when you come. This includes wedding rings, body-piercing jewelry, hair pins, etc.)
  • A Preoperative Care Center nurse checks your blood pressure, heart rate and preoperative information.
  • Anesthesiologist, nurse anesthetist, operating room (OR) nurse and your surgeon in the Preoperative Care Center will meet with you to discuss your anesthesia and surgery.
  • You are given the proper medication(s) intravenously (IV), which may include drugs to help you relax and prepare for anesthesia.
  • If you wish, your family is called from the waiting room to be with you until it is time to bring you to the operating room (OR).

While You Are in the Operating Room

  • Your family returns to the waiting area.
  • You are asked to slide onto the operating room (OR) bed.
  • You are connected to monitors that constantly display information, such as your heart and circulatory function.
  • You are given a general anesthetic or medications to make you feel drowsy or go to sleep.
  • It’s common to not remember many of the events that occurred during the day of surgery, even if you seemed wide awake at the time.

After Surgery

  • You are taken to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) where a registered nurse cares for you as the effects of anesthesia or sedation wear off.
  • Your nurse is at your bedside to help you. He or she will monitor you and treat pain or nausea, if present.
  • Don’t be alarmed if you do not remember many of the events on the day of surgery due to the medications administered.

If you are going home the day of your surgery

  • Arrange for a responsible adult to be at the hospital during your surgery and to take you home if you are discharged on the same day. You will not be allowed to drive yourself. If you have not made these arrangements prior to your arrival, your surgical procedure may be cancelled. When you go home, a family member or friend should stay with you overnight.
  • You stay in the hospital until you are awake and pain and nausea is adequately controlled.
  • Your nurse goes over written home care instructions with you and the family member or friend who will be with you.
  • It’s important to have someone available to stay with you or to check on you the first 24 hours after your surgery.
  • A nurse will call you at home after surgery to check on your progress and answer any questions or concerns you may have.

If you are being admitted to the hospital

  • You remain in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) until you are ready to go to your room.
  • A staff member transports your belongings to your room.
  • Family and friends are welcome to visit you in your hospital room.
  • Your doctor writes orders for pain and nausea medication, which the nurses will administer.
  • Talk to your nurse if you are experiencing pain or nausea.
  • If you experience any problems, call your surgeon.