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Tips and Advice on Preparing for Surgery

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The NHS is a crowning jewel of the UK’s infrastructure, offering care, treatment and often a literal lifeline free at the point of use, to millions each year. But the coronavirus pandemic has seen the health service struggle with demand, with the knock-on effect that a waiting list for elective surgery has ballooned to six million. If you’ve been affected by the backlog, you might find yourself with more time to worry about your upcoming surgery. But the wait can also be a blessing, giving you time to get your surgery preparations right. Here are some tips for preparing for your upcoming surgery. 

Plan your transport

An operation is already a stressful event, both mentally and physically. Reducing the number of stressors that could affect your condition ahead of the operation is important, and travel is one of the bigger concerns on that front. You’ll need to plan your transport in advance, to get there in ample time for your appointment. Hospitals tend to have good transport links, making public transport a viable option for arrival.

You’ll also want to consider how you’re getting home after your operation. You may be too unwell to figure out your return journey after your operation – and you may not have the constitution to use public transport, either. As such, you should arrange transport back home in advance, whether a pre-arranged taxi booking or a lift from a friend or relative.

Review any pre-surgery instructions

For any surgical procedure, whether you are going under local or general anaesthetic, you will receive some information on how best to prepare for the surgery. This information will include general advice on preparation, as well as any instructions specific to the procedure you are undergoing – particularly with regard to food, drink and medicine. For some surgeries, fasting for a period of time before the operation may be a requirement, while others may require you to abstain from taking certain prescriptions.

Pack carefully

You should dedicate some time to the packing of belongings for a hospital stay. Be sure to bring multiple pairs of underwear as well as spare loungewear, both for comfort and in the event of a prolonged period as an outpatient. Bring essential toiletries such as a toothbrush and toothpaste, and don’t forget to bring things that will help you pass the time in recovery. A smartphone charger should be one of the first things to go in your bag, and a handy e-reader can help you keep packing light while still taking literature with you.

If something goes wrong

The likelihood of a mistake taking place during your surgery or aftercare is mercifully slim, but surgical errors can still occur – and can be a serious source of anxiety, especially in the run-up to a major intervention. As such, it can help to research your options in case things go wrong. If a mistake takes place during surgery, or if you believe a medical professional has made a mistake during your car, you may be eligible for an NHS negligence claim. NHS Resolution is the body that oversees claims made against the NHS and is also responsible for conducting investigations into potential avenues for prevention of harm or improvement of care.

Alicia Saville did her degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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