Your Inpatient Hospital Stay
If you’ve been referred to hospital for an operation or test and you need to stay overnight, it means you're being treated as an inpatient.
We sincerely hope that your stay with us will be as pleasant and as comfortable as possible. Our staff are more than happy to discuss any aspect of your care with you, whether it is about the admission process or your care once you leave hospital, so please do not hesitate to speak to a member of staff about any worries or concerns you may have.
The Trust aims to provide the highest level of care possible to all our patients and to ensure your full satisfaction with every aspect of your care and treatment.
Wherever possible we would advise you to ask a relative or friend to accompany you when you come into hospital. Patients under the age of 16 should be always accompanied by a parent or guardian.
When you arrive on your ward, you will be welcomed and shown to your bed if it is ready or asked to wait in the day room. A designated nurse will co-ordinate your nursing care throughout your stay. The nursing and medical staff will talk to you about your individual needs.
- Before your operation
Before your operation there are a number of things you can do to better prepare yourself for your anaesthetic:
Smoking can affect your breathing during your anaesthetic. You should stop smoking for as long as possible prior to your operation.
Lose some weight
Being overweight can increase the risks of your anaesthetic. By losing weight you will reduce some of these risks.
Improve your fitness
Your anaesthetic can be a real work out for your body. If you are fit, your body will find it easier to deal with the anaesthetic.
Nil by mouth
You should receive clear instructions from your doctor about how long you should not eat or drink prior to your operation. Please be aware if you do not follow this advice, your operation may be cancelled. It can be dangerous to have any food or drink in your stomach before your operation.
Keep your medical team informed
Inform your anaesthetist if you have any condition or are taking any medication that means you bruise or bleed more easily. Medications such as aspirin, clopidogrel and warfarin can do this.
If you have not received clear instructions about stopping eating or drinking before your operation, or are unsure about anything, please contact your hospital doctor for further advice. https://youtu.be/0NMHMX-nFgY
Before your operation we need to make sure that you are fit enough to undergo surgery. We will give you an appointment to come to the pre-operative assessment clinic two to three weeks before your operation. It is important for you to attend this appointment otherwise your operation will most likely be cancelled.
At your appointment, you will see a senior nurse who will ask you a number of questions about your health and lifestyle, and examine you. You will also be weighed, your urine checked, and a pregnancy test may be done. You may undergo routine tests such as a chest x-ray, blood tests and an electro-cardiogram, where small pads are placed on your chest and a tracing of your heart is made.
Some of your medications may need to be stopped before your operation. Please bring any medications that you are taking to your pre-operative assessment clinic. We will then let you know what you need to do. If you are still unsure, please contact the hospital for further advice.
If you feel unwell in the two weeks before your operation please contact your doctor at the hospital. It is important that you are as well as possible before your operation. Depending on the illness and how urgent the surgery is, your operation may need to be postponed until you are better.
- What you may need while you are here
To make your stay more comfortable you should have the following personal items with you:
- Any medicines, tablets or inhalers that you take, plus prescriptions, over the counter medicines or alternative medicines such as herbal remedies. It is vital that we know about all your medication.
- Nightwear, dressing gown and well-fitting slippers
- Any aid you would normally use - for example walking stick or crutches (clearly labelled with your name)
- Sanitary products etc.
- Our Anaesthesia and Pain Management Service
The department provides anaesthetic services for elective surgery in: General Surgery, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Burns Surgery, Urology, ENT, Ophthalmology, Orthopaedic Surgery and Gynaecology.
Anaesthetic services include the medical assessment of patients pre-operatively, providing anaesthesia during operations, and managing surgical patients during the early post-operative period.
Please visit the Anaesthesia and Pain Management Service for more information.
- On the day of your operation
Meeting your anaesthetist
You will meet your anaesthetist before your operation. Your anaesthetist will make every effort to meet you on the ward before your surgery, but this is not always possible.
Assessing that you are fit enough
Before your operation, your anaesthetist will ask you questions about your health. These will include questions about how you feel now, questions about any past or current illnesses, if you have any loose or capped teeth, any regular medications and any allergies. Your anaesthetist may also examine your mouth, heart and lungs.
Planning your anaesthetic
Your anaesthetist will discuss with you what anaesthetics are available to you and the advantages and disadvantages of each. Together you will decide on your anaesthetic. The best option for you will depend on your operation, your health, your preferences and your anaesthetist’s opinion.
Before your operation
This can vary, but in general, you will change into a hospital gown and be taken to a room outside the operating theatre, known as the anaesthetic room.
The anaesthetic room
Here you will meet your anaesthetist and theatre staff. They will check your identification bracelet, your name and date of birth, and will ask you about other details in your medical records as a final check before your operation. You will be connected to some monitors that check your breathing, heartbeat and blood pressure. Sticky patches will be placed on your chest, a blood-pressure cuff will be placed on your arm and a clip will be placed on your finger. The monitors will bleep in time with your heartbeat and a cuff will inflate on your arm to take your blood pressure regularly. Depending on your operation more monitoring equipment may be attached.
A small needle may be placed in a vein in your arm or hand to help give you your anaesthetic and you may be given an oxygen mask to breathe through. Once you are ready, your anaesthetist will give your anaesthetic and you will be taken into the operating theatre.
- During your operation
Your anaesthetist will remain with you throughout your operation to ensure that you are kept safe and comfortable.
- After your operation
Your anaesthetist will take you to a recovery room. Here a team of recovery nurses will look after you until you are well enough to be taken to a ward.
Side effects and complications
Please be aware that any anaesthetic can have side effects and complications, but with modern techniques and drugs these are very rare. This is one of the many reasons why a large number of procedures can be done as day cases.
Rare complications to all types of anaesthetic include eye damage, serious allergy to drugs, nerve damage, equipment failure and death. There are probably about five deaths for every million anaesthetics in the UK.
Side effects include feeling sick and vomiting, sore throat, dizziness, headache, itching, pain during the injection of drugs, and confusion.
Uncommon side effects and complications include chest infections, bladder problems, damage to teeth, lips or tongue and awareness (becoming conscious during your operation).
Commonly occurring side effects include pain during the injection of drugs, headache, dizziness, bruising and soreness, and aches and pains.
Uncommon side effects and complications include bladder problems and slow breathing. Please ask your anaesthetist about potential side effects and complications related to your anaesthetic.
- Further information
If you want to know more about a particular drug being used for your anaesthetic, then please ask a member of staff. We can discuss any concerns that you may have, and show you any relevant drug information leaflets that have been produced by the manufacturers.
You can also download publications from The Royal College of Anesthetists’ website.
- Going home
Your discharge will be planned by your clinical team for as soon as you are medically fit to return home. Information will be provided about any on-going treatment or care you may need. If you require extra assistance once you return home, this will be discussed with you and planned before your discharge.