Ways to Prepare for Your Teenage Child’s Surgery

a woman arranging medical tools in an operating room

Having a teenage child undergo surgery can be a stressful experience for both parents and the child. However, having a starting point in how to prepare for your teenage child’s surgery can alleviate anxiety and ensure a smooth process. While I have had a child in surgery before, this is Aubrey’s first surgery and with what I know, her surgery will be a completely different recovery than her siblings’ previous surgeries. It is 100% normal to feel stressed or anxious but being prepared will help make the procedure and recovery easier to handle. Here are a variety of tips we’ve found to help you in getting ready for surgery and the recovery process.

Prepare for your Teenage Child’s Surgery

Communicate Openly:

Effective communication is essential when preparing for your teenage child’s surgery. Sit down with your child to discuss the procedure, why it is necessary, and address any concerns they may have. Emphasize the importance of staying positive and assure them that their well-being is the top priority. Let them know it’s okay to ask questions and remember to validate the normalcy of any anxiety so you can help them overcome.

Educate Yourself:

Begin by understanding the details of the surgery. Consult with the surgeon and medical team to gain a thorough understanding of the procedure, potential risks, and expected recovery time. This knowledge will empower you to address your child’s concerns and keep them informed. Never be afraid to ask questions, especially when it comes to your child’s health and wellbeing.

Select a Support System:

Identify friends, family members, or support groups who can offer emotional and practical assistance during this time. Having a strong support system can provide comfort and help with day-to-day responsibilities. As we’ve been preparing, we’ve found support from family, friends, and school staff/educators. As the individuals who see her on a daily basis, it helps ease stress knowing others are thinking of you or likely know your history leading up to a surgery. They’ll help in “cheering” on your team 😉

Follow Pre-Operative Instructions:

Ensure you strictly follow the pre-operative instructions provided by the surgeon or hospital. This may include fasting requirements, avoiding certain medications, or completing necessary tests or screenings. Compliance with these instructions will minimize complications during the surgery. With surgery during cold and flu season, we’ve taken extra precautions to lessen any chance of becoming sick prior to surgery.

Preparing the Home Environment:

Before your child’s surgery, make the necessary arrangements to ensure a comfortable environment for their recovery. Create a cozy space in their bedroom where they can rest, stock up on necessary medications and supplies, and prepare easy-to-digest meals. Keep essential contacts handy, including emergency numbers and your child’s healthcare providers. It’s important to think ahead of any potential supplies you might need on-hand, including prescription medications, mobility devices, etc. when possible, prior to surgery so your undivided attention can be ready when your child needs you.

Coordinate with the School:

Inform your teenager’s school about the upcoming surgery and discuss the potential need for academic accommodations during the recovery period. This may include notifying teachers, arranging for homework, or requesting extensions on assignments. Make plans for any additional homework or vital school information can be readily accessed. Not only can your teenager reach out ahead of time, but arrangements can also be made for a parent or family member to retrieve homework from the school or pass on to siblings already on the way home.

Emotional Preparation:

Surgery can be emotionally challenging for both parents and teenagers. Encourage your child to express their emotions and provide reassurance. Foster a positive mindset by focusing on the potential benefits of the surgery and how it will improve their health and well-being. Encourage them to express their feelings and consider seeking professional counseling if needed. Sometimes we forget we were once teenagers too and having someone other than Mom or Dad to ask questions can be an absolute must.

Financial and Insurance Considerations:

  • Review your insurance coverage and ensure that all necessary authorizations are in place.
  • Plan for any potential financial implications, including co-pays or out-of-pocket expenses.

Postoperative Care:

  • Familiarize yourself with postoperative care instructions, including medication schedules, wound care, and follow-up appointments.
  • Prepare for potential challenges during the recovery phase and ensure your teenager has the necessary assistance.

By following this comprehensive checklist, you can ease the process of preparing for your teenager’s surgery. While each surgery will vary, having a list ready can help you adapt to any situations that can arise in your circumstances. Remember that communication, support, and proper planning are essential components of a successful preparation. While surgeries can be stressful, taking these proactive steps will contribute to a smoother experience for both you and your teenage child.

How have you prepared for your child’s surgery?

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