Eating and drinking before your anaesthetic
You cannot have any food for 5½ hours before your admission time.
Do not chew gum or suck sweets for at least 1½ hours before your admission.
You should drink clear fluids up to 1½ hours prior to your admission to stop you becoming thirsty. Clear fluids include water, diluted still juice i.e. squash / cordial and tea or coffee without milk.
Having a drink before you come into hospital helps avoid becoming thirsty, will make it easier to find a vein for a cannula and decreases the chances of feeling sick after your anaesthetic.
If you are coming to hospital in the morning, you should make sure you have a drink before you leave home. If you are coming in later in the day, you should keep drinking all morning until 1½ hours prior to your admission time
Please take all your usual medications on the day of surgery unless you have been instructed otherwise. You are allowed a small amount of water to do this. If you are due to take your medication around your admission time, please do so prior to arrival.
Patients having certain treatments are allowed to continue to drink clear fluids (see above) until they go into the operating theatre. You may hear hospital staff refer to this referred as “Sip Til Send” (i.e. continuing to sip on clear fluids until you are ‘sent’ for your operation).
On your arrival, the nursing staff on the Admissions Unit will let you know if this applies to you. If you are informed by staff that your treatment does permit you to “Sip Til Send”, please continue to drink clear fluids up to the time of your procedure, as it can help us put you to sleep and help in your recovery afterwards.
If you do not follow these instructions your operation will be delayed and possibly cancelled if it cannot be safely rescheduled.
Other instructions to follow
- You are recommended not to drink alcohol or smoke for 24 hours before your admission.
- You are not allowed to wear jewellery other than a plain wedding ring (including all body piercing), nail varnish (including toes), gel nails, makeup, hair products or hairspray.
- Following your general anaesthetic, you must not drive, drink alcohol or operate machinery for a minimum of 24 hours. This may be longer following certain types of surgery. After this time you should only resume these activities when you feel able to.
- If you are going home within 24 hours of your operation you must have someone to take you home and stay with you for the 24 hours.
- Please arrange your own transport home with a friend or relative. The admitting staff will confirm where you will be discharged from.
- Please bring all of your medication with you in the green bag provided by the pre-operative assessment team.
- You may require simple pain relief medication such as paracetamol after your discharge home. This can be purchased at your local pharmacy or supermarket as we do not routinely provide paracetamol or ibuprofen on prescription. You will be advised which pain relief medication is best for you.
If your health has changed since your pre-operative assessment
If you are unwell prior to your operation, please contact the hospital switchboard – Telephone: 01642 850850 and ask to be put through to your consultants secretary.
Alternatively, contact the Perioperative Medicine clinic:
- The James Cook University Hospital – Telephone: 01642 854009
- Friarage Hospital – Telephone: 01609 764536
For spinal and neurosurgery, please contact the Neuro Preassessment clinic – Telephone: 01642 835762
If you are taking medication to help prevent blood clots
If you are taking antiplatelet therapy such as clopidogrel, ticagrelor or anticoagulants such as warfarin, dabigatran or rivaroxaban, these medications normally need be stopped prior to your operation. If you are required to stop any medication, you will have been given instructions at preoperative assessment. If in doubt, please contact the Perioperative Medicine clinic to discuss.
Coming into hospital
Patients for admission can come alone or may be accompanied by a relative or friend. If you are accompanied, the person may stay for a short length of time in the reception area only. This is to protect the privacy and dignity of other patients. The only exemption is for carers of patients with additional needs.
What to bring with you
If you are going home the same day as your operation, we advise you bring a small bag with toiletries and reading material if required.
If you are transferring to a ward after your operation, we advise that you bring only one small suitcase or bag (maximum size 50cm x 40cm x 20cm or 20” x 16” x 8”) containing dressing gown, nightwear, slippers or indoor footwear, toiletries and reading material if required. You may want to ask your relatives or friends to bring anything else you may need to the ward when they visit you later.
The trust cannot be held liable for the loss of, or damage to, patients’ property (including money) unless it is handed in for safekeeping. Valuables such as money and jewellery should be left at home.
The Peri-Operative Medicine Team can also be contacted at:
Email: [email protected]
More advice is available at: www.southtees.nhs.uk/services/perioperative-medicine-clinic-pac/
South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust would like your feedback. If you wish to share your experience about your care and treatment or on behalf of a patient, please contact The Patient Experience Department who will advise you on how best to do this.
This service is based at The James Cook University Hospital but also covers the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, our community hospitals and community health services.