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Your Family Guide to Surgery: Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to your questions and important resources

We’re here to offer you support.

Welcome to YRMC Surgical Services. We understand that surgery can be a stressful time for patients and their families, so we’ve created this guide to answer many of the questions you may have and to provide you with helpful resources. You can be assured that through every step of the process, from pre-operative preparations through the post-operative recovery period, we are committed to providing your family member with the quality care they deserve.

What is Pre-Op Holding?
Pre-Op holding is the area where the patient will be prepared for surgery. In Pre-Op Holding, the nurses and clinical associates will:

• Review your family member’s medical history
• Ensure that all documents are in order
• Start an IV
• Give any necessary pre-op medications
• Collaborate with physicians to review diagnostic tests
• Remove hair from the surgical site

During this time, you will also be asked to provide your name and cell phone number. This information will be entered into the patient’s medical record so you may be contacted with progress updates for your family member’s surgery.

Can we stay in Pre-Op Holding with our family member?
Yes. Family members are welcome to wait in Pre-Op Holding with the patient. However, we ask that if there are more than two visitors that the visitors take turns.

How long will our family member stay in Pre-Op Holding?
The wait in Pre-Op Holding can be a few hours and depends on the surgical schedule for the day and whether the surgical team has had to address any unexpected emergencies. Once the operating room is ready, your family member will be taken to the operating room by the operating room nurse. At this time, you will be asked to wait in the Surgical Waiting Area.

How will I learn of my family member’s progress during surgery?
When you arrive at the Surgical Waiting Area, please visit the information desk to check in and let our volunteer know your family member’s name. This will help them coordinate communications between you and the surgical team. The Surgical Information Desk is staffed by a volunteer Monday through Friday from 6:30 am to 4 pm.

Can I leave the Surgical Waiting Area while my family member is in surgery?
Yes. If you wish to grab a snack or a beverage, you are welcome to visit the Daily Grind snack shop located in the main lobby or the Corner Stork Café located in the lobby of Women and Children Services. In addition, our cafeteria on the ground floor of the hospital serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. (See the back panel of this brochure for hours.) If you leave the waiting area, however, please let our volunteer know you are leaving and check back in when you return. If you prefer, the volunteer at the Surgical Information Desk can give you a beeper to carry within the hospital so you can be notified when it’s time to return to the Surgical Waiting Area.

If your family member is scheduled for outpatient surgery (scheduled to go home the same day), please make sure that the individual who is responsible for taking the patient home after surgery remains in the hospital at all times.

How will I know when my family member’s surgery has been completed?
In most cases, the surgeon will come to the Surgical Waiting Area to meet with you. Or, at your request, the surgeon will contact you by phone.

What happens after surgery?
Your family member will be transferred to the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit, also known as the PACU. Here, the PACU nurses will give your family member their undivided attention as he/she awakes from anesthesia. The length of time your family member will be in the PACU depends upon the amount of care and pain management your family member requires after surgery. The average time is 1 ½ hours, but please do not become concerned if your family member is in the PACU longer than the time originally estimated. Remember that this is only an estimate and the ultimate goal is to give the patient the care and attention they need for as long as necessary.

Can I visit my family member in the PACU?
In most situations, family members are not invited to visit the patient in the PACU out of respect for the privacy of other patients and to allow the PACU nurses to focus on patient care. An exception to the visitation policy is made when children are scheduled for surgery. In that case, the parents will be allowed to be in the PACU as their child wakes from anesthesia.

How will I know when my family member is ready to leave the PACU?
When your family member is ready to return home (if they are an outpatient) or be admitted to their hospital room, the PACU nurse will notify you through the volunteer at the Surgical Information Desk.

If you have questions at any time . . .
The volunteer at the Surgical Information Desk will be glad to assist you or request an update on your family member’s progress on your behalf. If the volunteer is away from the desk, please feel free to call the PACU directly by dialing extension 3338 on any hospital phone.

For more resources available to you, please visit our Helpful Resources page.

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