To ensure that you receive the best care at our hospitals. we encourage you to take an active role in your surgical procedure through the Speak Up Program. The goal of the Speak Up Program is to help you, the patient, become more informed and involved in your health care.

Preparing for surgery

Ask your doctor:

  • Are there any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications or herbal remedies that I should NOT take before my surgery?
  • Can I eat or drink before my surgery?
  • Should I trim my nails and remove nail polish or artificial nails?

If you have any other questions, write them down and address them with your doctor.

Ask someone you trust to:

  • Take you to and from the surgery facility
  • Be with you at the hospital or surgery facility
  • Assist with your care and help provide support

Before you leave home:

  • Shower and wash your hair. Do not wear makeup, perfume, powder or body lotion.
  • Remove jewelry and piercings and leave them at home. Do not bring valuables or money to the surgery facility.
  • Wear comfortable clothing.

At the surgery facility

The staff will review your Informed Consent form. Read it carefully. It lists:

  • Your name
  • Your agreement to have the surgery
  • The kind of surgery you will have
  • The risks of your surgery
  • That you talked to your doctor about the surgery and asked questions

Make sure that everything on this form is correct. Make sure all of your questions have been answered. If you do not understand something on the form, speak up.

For your safety the staff may ask you the same question many times, for example:

  • Who are you?
  • What kind of surgery are you having?
  • Which part of your body is being operated on?

They will also double-check the records from your doctor’s office.

Before your surgery

  • When appropriate, the operable site on your body will be marked by your physician. Not all surgeries are marked. Make sure they mark only the correct part and nowhere else. This helps to avoid mistakes. Collaborate with your surgeon concerning the correct marking of the surgical site.
  • Marking usually happens when you are awake. Sometimes you cannot be awake for the marking. Whenever appropriate and possible, a family member or companion is encouraged to be involved in the site marking.
  • Your neck, upper back or lower back will be marked if you are having spine surgery. The surgeon will confirm the exact place on your spine by X-ray.

The staff in the operating room or surgical team (surgeon, anesthesiologist, RN, surgical technician) will conduct a “time-out” to confirm the correct surgery, correct body part and correct side.

The staff in the operating room work as a team to provide the safest possible patient care. They are your advocates while you are having surgery.

After your surgery

  • Tell your nurse or doctor about any pain or discomfort you are experiencing. Your nurse will ask you to rate your pain on a scale of 1 to 10 so that it can be treated appropriately. It is important to us to help relieve your pain (or help you reach a state of comfort).
  • Ask questions about medicines that are given to you, especially new ones. What are they? What are they used for? Are there any side effects? Tell your caregivers about any allergies you have. If you have more questions about a medicine, talk to your doctor or nurse before taking it.
  • Find out about any intravenous (IV) fluids that you are given. These are liquids that drip from a plastic bag into your vein. If you experience any discomfort at the IV site, notify your nurse.
  • Ask your doctor when you can resume activities like work, exercise and travel.
  • Discharge instructions will be discussed with you prior to leaving the hospital.