Having a general anaesthetic for your day or short stay surgery

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1 Having a general anaesthetic for your day or short stay surgery This leaflet is for patients having an operation or procedure under a general anaesthetic. It explains what it is, what to expect while in hospital and what risks there may be. Barnet Day Services Unit Canterbury Ward, Chase Farm Hospital SurgiCentre, Chase Farm Hospital 1

2 What is a general anaesthetic? Anaesthetic drugs will be injected directly into your bloodstream usually through a vein in the back of your hand. This means you will be unconscious during the operation - you will be asleep and feel no pain. There are some common side effects of a general anaesthetic, which include sickness, sore throat, headache, mild aches, and the after effects of impaired memory and judgement which are mentioned below. Making sure you are fit for your surgery We will send you an appointment for a preassessment clinic usually 2 3 weeks before your operation or procedure. This assessment will be done by a nurse and should take about 30 minutes, but may take up to two hours if other tests are required. The nurse will ask you about your medical and home details. The nurse will tell you about what will happen when you have your operation and will tell you how long to expect to be in hospital. If you are having day surgery, the nurse will check that you are fit to have your operation and go home the same day. Please tell the nurse if you are a diabetic, so that we can discuss any special arrangements which are necessary for you. Please tell the nurse if you take warfarin or aspirin tablets and bring all your medicines (or a written list of them) to this clinic. If you take recreational drugs you must tell the nurse, as this could lead to complications with your anaesthetic. This information will be treated in strictest confidence. If you need further investigations such as an x-ray, blood tests or tracing of your heart (ECG) these will be arranged and explained to you. If you have any questions please ask the nurse who will be happy to discuss your queries about any aspect of your care. You must attend this appointment, otherwise your operation will have to be cancelled. 2

3 What preparations do you need to make for your operation or procedure? Arrange to take at least one day off from work, school or college after the procedure. This is required following any general anaesthetic - you may also need longer depending on what operation you are having. This will be fully explained at your preadmission clinic. Because you are having an operation and a general anaesthetic, it is important that you have someone to collect you from the hospital in a car or taxi and to look after you when you get home. If you are going home on the day of your operation then you need somebody to be with you for 24 hours. If you are discharged the morning after your operation somebody needs to collect you and be with you for the rest of that day. It is vital that this is arranged before your hospital admission. It is important that you are fit for your operation. If you have a cold, cough or other illness please telephone the ward for advice (phone numbers are on page 11). You must not eat or drink anything before your operation. Do not drink alcohol the night before your operation. Do not eat chewing gum or eat sweets on the day of your operation. Do not smoke on the day of your operation as smoking may affect your anaesthetic and recovery from the operation. Please follow the instructions below for morning and afternoon appointments Morning appointments Admission 8.00am Do not eat anything after 3.00am on the morning of your operation You may take medication and drink water until 7.00am 3

4 Afternoon appointments Admission Do not eat anything after midday a light breakfast at 7.00am You may take medication and drink water until 11.00am on the day of your operation If you are coming to Canterbury Ward you will be allocated an arrival time. Do not eat anything for six hours before this time. You may have sips of water until 2 hours before. Before you leave home Take your usual medications with a sip of water, unless you are taking tablets for high blood pressure or are a diabetic. This should have been discussed with you at the preadmission clinic, but please ring the ward if you are unsure what to do. Have a bath or shower and clean your teeth as normal. Please do not wear any nail varnish or make-up. Remove all your jewellery and leave it at home. Please bring A dressing gown (if you have one) and well fitting slippers or shoes with non slip soles. A small bag to keep your clothes in. Equipment to deal with contact lenses if you wear them. Something to read or keep you occupied while you are waiting. A small amount of change for the telephone. Any medicines that you are taking in their containers and your steroid card and warfarin book (if you have one). Please do not bring Any jewellery, valuables or large amounts of money. 4

5 Chequebooks or credit cards. If you have any body piercing you will be asked to remove the jewellery. If you are unable to do this, and the piercing is near the part of your body being operated on, then your operation may have to be cancelled. Please do not bring valuables and restrict the amount of property and cash you bring with you to a minimum. Give the Nurse in Charge any articles you wish to be kept safe when you arrive on the ward. A receipt will be given for them. You will be responsible for all your property (including money and jewellery), which is not handed over for safe custody. The Trust will not accept responsibility or liability for any lost or damaged patients property under any circumstances unless it has been handed in for safe keeping and signed for by a member of staff. Having your operation The nurse will tell you how long to expect to be in hospital at your preadmission appointment. When you arrive you may be asked to wait in the reception area for a short time. Your arrival time is not the time of your operation. There will be other patients waiting for the same operating list. A nurse will meet you, check your details and may take your pulse and blood pressure. You will be given a gown to change into. Please put your clothes in your bag. Female patients Please tell the nurse if you are pregnant or think you might be or if you are having a period. Your doctor will see you to explain the operation and ask you to sign a consent form to confirm that you understand the procedure and agree to go ahead with it. Please ask any questions you may have. The doctor may mark the area for operation with a felt tip pen if necessary. The anaesthetist will see you and check you are fit for a general anaesthetic. Please ask any questions you may have. You will then be taken to have your anaesthetic. You will lie on a trolley and a small needle (cannula) will be inserted into a vein. The anaesthetic drugs will be injected into your vein through the cannula. 5

6 When you are fully asleep (unconscious) you will have your operation. After the operation you will be moved to the recovery room for up to half an hour and you will be given some oxygen through a face mask. Your pulse and blood pressure will be checked. You will then be taken back to the ward area, where you will be offered a drink and a biscuit or toast. You will be discharged when you are well enough to go home. A member of the nursing team will discharge you. You will not need to see a doctor unless there is a medical reason. Going home You should arrange for a responsible adult to drive you home from the hospital and remain with you for the next 24 hours, if you had your operation as a day case, or for the rest of the day you go home if you were in hospital longer. You will be given an information sheet specific to the operation you are having, with detailed instructions about removal of stitches, dressings, painkillers, other medication and how to deal with the problems listed below. You will be given an outpatient appointment as necessary. A small supply of medication may be prescribed for you to take home. At present there is no charge for this. Please remember that you have been given a general anaesthetic. This can affect your memory, judgement and coordination. So, when you go home rest quietly. For 24 hours after a general anaesthetic: Do not drive or operate any mechanical or electrical equipment such as a cooker or even a kettle Do not lock any doors behind you in case you feel faint or unwell when alone Do not do anything that requires fine coordination and judgement Do not sign any legal documents Do not drink alcohol Do not take sleeping tablets 6

7 Do take all your usual medicines unless a doctor tells you otherwise Do eat or drink normally. You may feel thirsty for a day or so after the anaesthetic and, if so, drink extra fluid. This will also help if you have a sore throat following the anaesthetic Do expect to feel sleepy for up to two to three days How to obtain advice If you have any minor problems once you get home you can ring the ward for advice (see numbers on page 11). Telephone the ward or come to the Accident & Emergency Department if you experience any serious problems such as: Continuous bleeding Severe pain Excessive swelling around the operation wound Information about Barnet Hospital The Day Services Unit has a separate entrance to the right of the main entrance to Barnet Hospital and is on the ground floor (level 1). There is limited space for visitors and if someone is going to wait for you while you have your operation, there is a hospital restaurant where they will be able to wait in more comfort, and where there are public toilets and telephones. Car parking: There is pay and display parking available. Spaces are allocated for blue badge holders or disabled drivers, who are not charged for parking. If there are no disabled car parking spaces available, blue badge holders can park in other spaces free of charge. Underground trains: The nearest station is High Barnet (Northern Line). It is about 30 minutes walk to the hospital. Buses: Routes 263 and 385 stop at the hospital. Routes 107 and 307 stop nearby in Wood Street. 7

8 Help desk: This is in the main reception area at the entrance to the hospital on Level 1. Public telephones: These are available in the Day Services Unit waiting area and hospital main entrance. Refreshments and public toilets: are available near the main hospital entrance. Information about Chase Farm Hospital Canterbury ward is located towards the back of the hospital. Use the main entrance to the hospital on the Ridgeway and turn left, following the one way system. Go past the multi-storey car park which is on your left and then the Accident and Emergency department on your right. Straight after A&E there is a paved road to the right (the road runs alongside A&E). This is signposted for Canterbury ward. Turn down this road and Canterbury ward is located at the end. We have three drop-off/pick-up bays for the use of our patients. Regrettably, because of lack of space, it is not possible for anyone to wait with you while you are on the ward. The SurgiCentre is located near to the Hunters Way/Lavender Hill entrance to the hospital. Enter hospital via Hunters Way, turn right into the main hospital road and the SurgiCentre is the second building on the right. There are drop-off/pick-up bays by the SurgiCentre. Helpdesk: this is in the main outpatients department in the Clocktower Building. It is open between 9.00am 5.00pm. Car parking: There is a pay and display car park in front of the Clocktower Building. Spaces are allocated for blue badge holders or disabled drivers, who are not charged for parking. If there are no disabled car parking spaces available, blue badge holders can park in other spaces free of charge. There is also a multi-storey (pay on exit) car park which does not give change. Although there are designated disabled parking spaces, blue badge holders do have to pay the parking charge because it is an automatic pay on exit car park. 8

9 Overground trains: Gordon Hill station, on the WAGN Moorgate to Hertford line, is nearest. It is about 15 minutes walk to the hospital. Underground station the nearest is Oakwood on the Piccadilly line. This is in zone 5 and a ten-minute cab journey to the hospital. General Information Privacy and dignity Our inpatient wards (where you will be admitted if you are going to stay in hospital for more than one night) care for both men and women, but all wards have separate bed bays, toilet and washing facilities for men and women. For day or short stay surgery you may be cared for in mixed-sex accommodation, depending on the patients who are admitted at the same time as you. You will be informed if this is the case at your pre-assessment appointment. If you are not required to attend for pre assessment you may ring the unit if you have concerns or require further information. Interpreting services We can provide an interpreter to attend your appointment with you. If you need this service please contact the admissions office on the telephone number given in your appointment letter. Internal hospital transport service A bus service is available for staff, patients and visitors travelling between Barnet and Chase Farm sites (weekdays only). For a timetable, please contact the transport office on Transport If you think you need transport to get to hospital, please speak to your GP who will arrange this for you. Transport home is only provided for patients with a genuine need. The nurse on the ward will assess you to see if you are eligible for an ambulance, otherwise you are asked to make your own transport arrangements. Parking Incorrectly parked cars will be wheel clamped and a charge is made for their release. Please note that the hospital cannot accept responsibility for vehicles parked in hospital grounds. 9

10 Travel expenses If you receive income support, family credit or certain other benefits, you may be able to get help with your travelling expenses. Please go to the Cashiers Office. You will need to bring proof of the benefit you receive (e.g. your benefit book) and ask the clinic receptionist to sign your appointment card. Mobile telephones must be turned off inside ward areas. Smoking is not allowed anywhere in the hospital or hospital grounds. Flying after surgery: If you were planning a holiday soon after your surgery please discuss this with your doctor. After some operations it is advisable to delay flying as there may be an increased risk of developing a deep vein thrombosis (blood clot in the leg). Your doctor will be able to advise you. What if you have problems or questions? Please speak to the nurse in charge first. If you do not feel able to do this, please ask someone to contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) for you. PALS offer advice and support, and help sort out any problems. PALS at Barnet Hospital PALS at Chase Farm We hope that you are happy with your care and treatment but we know that problems can occur. If you wish to make a formal complaint, please write to: The Chief Executive Trust Headquarters Chase Farm Hospital The Ridgeway Enfield Middx EN2 8JL 10

11 For more information about what you can expect from the NHS complaints procedure, please contact the complaints teams: Complaints team at Barnet Hospital Complaints team at Chase Farm Any further questions? If you are worried about having the procedure or operation or have any questions, please contact relevant ward. Chase Farm Hospital Canterbury Ward Monday-Saturday 24 hours /2660 SurgiCentre Monday-Friday 8.00am-6.00pm Accident and Emergency (A&E) Every day 24 hours Barnet Hospital Barnet Day Services Unit Monday-Friday 8.00am-6.00pm Accident and Emergency (A&E) Every day 24 hours The staff and patients in this hospital have a right to work and be cared for in a safe and supportive environment. Violent, aggressive or abusive behaviour is a crime and we will press for the maximum possible penalty for anyone who behaves in this way. 11

12 Welcome We can provide an interpreter to attend your outpatient appointment with you or while you are a patient in the hospital. If you need this service please contact the Appointments Office on the telephone number given in your appointment letter, or ask one of the nurses on the ward to arrange this for you. Albanian Greek Gujarati Somali Turkish October 2007 BCF H/S/07 12

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