Having surgery can be a difficult, even frightening experience no matter your age. For older patients there are special issues to consider when contemplating surgery. But with planning, patients and their families will feel better prepared to make informed decisions about treatment—and that will help ensure the best possible result.
Choose a hospital with specialized programs that meet the needs of mature patients.
Holy Cross Hospital’s experienced specialists lead our Seniors Surgery Center and work as a team in a patient-centered practice. The center’s team has put programs in place to promote comfort and safety, ease anxiety and facilitate patient preparation for surgery. The Seniors Surgery Center features:
Pre-operative nursing care to assess your health, and evaluate your support system
Open communication with you and your family before surgery to explain every phase of the procedure and to begin planning for recovery
Comprehensive patient safety initiatives, with special attention to geriatric medication safety and possible drug contraindications
After your procedure, you’ll have extra time to recuperate, be given detailed discharge instructions and even receive a call from a nurse once you return home.
Choose a surgeon with special training, expertise and experience performing the surgery you require.
When you meet with the surgeon before your procedure:
- Bring a friend or family member along to be your “second ear.”
- Bring a list of all the prescription, over-the-counter, herbal medications and vitamins you take, and of your past medical conditions and surgeries, and current allergies and health issues.
- Talk about your treatment options, and about what you can expect before, during and after the procedure, using these questions to help get the conversation started:
- Why do I need surgery?
- What is the exact type of surgery I need?
- How soon do I need to have surgery?
- What will happen if I don't have surgery?
- Are there other treatment options I should consider?
- What are realistic expectations for this surgery?
- How will the surgery affect my health and lifestyle?
- What are the risks of this procedure?
- Do I need to abstain from alcohol before surgery?
- Should I eat differently?
- How far in advance must I stop taking: Medications? Aspirin? Herbal supplements? Prescription blood thinners?
- Are my heart and lungs strong enough for surgery?
- What type of anesthesia will I have and what are the side effects and risks?
- Will I be in pain; how long will it last; and how you manage the pain?
- How soon will I return home?
- How long will recovery take and what will it be like?
- What kind of support will I need upon returning home and who can best support me?
*Download a copy of What to Ask, What to Know: A Conversation Guide from the Seniors Surgery Center to keep on hand and use it to help you or a family member plan for a surgery.
*Download a copy of Your Guide on How to Prepare for Surgery for detailed instructions of what you need to do before you visit Holy Cross Hospital’s Seniors Surgery Center.