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Updated: Apr 2, 2020

Here is a list of things to do a week before surgery to ensure your experience goes as smoothly and stress free as possible.

Make sure your HOSPITAL PASSPORT is up to date and you have two copies.

Plan what outfits you are going to need for yourself and child and make sure they are washed and ready. This also applies for blankets or pillows.

PACK. Click here for a complete packing list.

A lot of items may not be able to be packed until the morning of leaving so it is important to WRITE A LIST of items to pack and tick them once they are packed. Highlighting what needs to be packed on what day.

Call and ask questions of what the operation and recovery may look like practically.

How long will recovery be? Will your child need to be in a certain position for long periods needing extra support or pillows? Will your child need certain adaptive clothing? Will clothing even be an option for a while? Will your child be on a specific type of diet and can the hospital cater for that? Does the hospital have a parents facilities? If so what do they look like. Does the hospital have a RONALD McDONALD HOUSE? What is parking like? Are there shops located easily to the hospital? Ask as many practical questions that you can think of. It's better to be aware of what's available and go into the admission fully prepared than not ask and feel overwhelmed and struggling whilst your child is recovering.

Order Pyjama Fairies. This charity is amazing. They make personally hand sewn surgical gowns and adaptive pyjamas. They are easily accessible for things like cannulas and central lines and feeding tubes whilst giving your child dignity. The first order is FREE and every order after that is around £7.00 including postage.

Think of your families future discharged selves. What are the things you are going to need or feel would be of benefit once you get home? Is your child going to be recovering at home for a while? Are they going to need a bedroom downstairs? Or extra space because of equipment? The Dutch Mother has written a DISCHARGED blog here with top tips for getting home and being kinder to her future family needs.

Order and collect prescription medication, make sure all the doses are correct as well as the name and date of birth and ensure that it is within date. Specialist medication isn't always the easiest to get a hold of, don't just presume the hospital will have it in stock because a lot of the time they don't. If you use CBD oil find out the hospitals policy on it. Find out if there is paper work that needs to be filled in and where it needs to be stored.

Order and collect prescription feed, again if it's a specialist feed the hospital may take 72 hrs to order it in so make sure you take enough.

If you own a van or car, now is the time to give it a good clean, declutter and get it organised. Whilst you're at it make sure the tyres are pumped, the oil and screen wash is filled and you have enough fuel. If you don't own a vehicle then its time to plan how you are going to get to the hospital and get it set in place.

Use this week to organise your house and get as much cleaning done so when you come home its one less thing to think about. You could even consider paying a cleaner for a deep clean whilst you are in hospital or getting other family members to help out, it works for some families but do what is right for you. If that means outsourcing some of the work then don't feel and guilt in doing it.

Get eating all the items in your fridge and fruit bowl. When you leave for hospital the goal is to not have a fridge full of fresh food unless you will be commuting back and forth from the hospital or you have other family members staying at home. This will reduce food waste and you will have one less job of emptying the fridge of food that has spoiled whilst you have been away.

Get your bins in order. Especially the food waste bin. If the collection was earlier in the week maybe ask a neighbour or family member to pop the bins out on the right night or leave the food bin with them on the day of leaving for the admission so they can pop it out on bin night.

Write A LIST of things you need doing whilst you are away from other family members that are staying at home. This may include school uniform for siblings or particular chores that need doing on certain days. Leave a CLEANING ROTA for other family members to follow or a DAY TIME ROUTINE.

Make a plan to care of family pets, make sure they are somewhere safe to go and you have what they need in place.

Make sure your file is up to date and all BED SIGNS and POSTERS are printed.

You may want to use this week to squeeze in a hair cut, dental appointment, coffee with a friend or other things done to help you feel a bit more refreshed and confident in hospital.

Update your continuing care team if you have one and let staff know you won't be home.

And RELAX... now all the above things are done and dealt with you have it all under control.

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