Having surgery at a hospital can be a scary thought for children and parents, alike. Knowing what to expect can help alleviate fear and anxiety. The photos below highlight some key aspects of the patient and family journey through the Tidwell Procedure Center at CHOC Hospital.
Welcome to CHOC Hospital – a hospital for children and teens, only. When a child requires surgery, his needs are different than an adult. CHOC has specialized in pediatric surgery since we welcomed our first patient in 1964. Today, our nationally recognized surgeons perform the latest procedures using equipment customized to pediatric patients, from newborns to adolescents.
After checking in at our first floor lobby, surgical patients and their families are directed to our Tidwell Procedure Center, which includes seven operating rooms, five procedure rooms and two cardiac catheterization labs. The Center boasts leading-edge technology and safety features, as well as a calm, healing environment. Here’s the Center’s bright, colorful lobby, featuring natural light, bubble columns and interesting artwork. There’s also a family room and playroom.
We want our patients and their siblings to still have the opportunity to act like kids while facing the adult issues of surgery. In addition to a playroom in the lobby, we have an area for play, stocked with books and toys in pre-op. Dedicated child life specialists help normalize the experience by making the environment less strange. Providing distraction and developmentally appropriate education, child life specialists are important members of the surgical team.
Child life specialists are at the bedside to provide developmentally appropriate education. Patients are able to see pictures of the operating rooms on iPads, which helps to limit stress and anxiety without the use of medication.
Before heading into the operating room, patients stop at what is affectionately called the “kissing spot.” Here’s where they can say “see you later” to their loved ones before “taking a nap” for surgery.
Child life specialists escort patients into the operating rooms and to provide distraction and emotional support while pediatric anesthesiologists and other staff members prepare patients for surgery.
Following surgery, patients recover in our PACU (post anesthesia care unit). As soon as the patient is stabilized, parents/legal guardians are escorted into the area. During this time, patients need as much rest as possible to help their bodies heal and give pain medication time to take effect. The environment is kept calm and quiet. From here, the patient will either be taken to a hospital room, or discharged home.
Our physicians, nurses and staff are dedicated to getting kids better and back to their normal activities as quickly as possible. Patients and families are our partners in this effort; knowing what to expect before, during and after surgery can make a big difference on the experience and recovery. For more information, visit www.choc.org/surgery.