Accompanying your child during anesthesia (EN) Accompanying your child during anesthesia (EN)
Anesthesia involves putting your child into a deep sleep, and monitoring and adjusting vital functions (breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, etc.). This brochure explains how you can best support your child and provides information on the procedures surrounding anesthesia.
During the preoperative examination of your child in the outpatient clinic, you discussed with the anesthesiologist that you would like to be present during the induction (putting your child to sleep) of and recovery (waking up) from anesthesia. This may be possible depending on the age of your child and the nature of the procedure. We advise you to be present only:
- if you think you can handle it yourself;
- and if you think it will help calm your child.
Only one parent or carer may be present. Agree who will accompany your child beforehand. In some cases, in which the anesthesiologist must be able to focus his/her full attention on the induction of your child’s anesthesia (for example, in the case of newborns or certain respiratory disorders), you will have to say goodbye to your child in the ‘holding’ (preparation area for the operating room).
It is important to be properly informed in order to prevent stress reactions in your child during and after hospitalization as much as possible. Therefore, you and your child have been invited to make an introductory visit to the department to which your child will be admitted. During this visit, the child counselor will explain to you and your child what he/she can expect by means of a photo book, hospital material and a tour. She will also provide advice on what you can do at home to prepare your child for being admitted to hospital.
Day of surgery
A few guidelines:
- We advise the accompanying parent to eat well beforehand. Experience has shown that tension combined with an empty stomach can increase the chance of fainting. So don’t fast along with your child.
- Wear comfortable clothes and do not wear any jewelry.
Report to the hospital’s central reception desk at the agreed time. A host or hostess will take you to the department to which your child will be admitted. When you arrive there, explain that you wish to be present during the induction of and recovery from anesthesia. The department secretary will notify the operating room staff, so that everyone involved is aware of your wishes. In the pediatrics department you will be given a name badge, which states that you are the parent of your child. Please wear this badge visibly.
Before the induction of anesthesia
Shortly before you enter the operating room, you will be given disposable coveralls to wear, which also go over your shoes. You will also be given a cap.
In the operating room, you will be asked your child's name and date of birth and which operation is going to take place. The doctor will visit your child shortly before surgery and check whether everything is clear. Your doctor may use a marker to draw an arrow on your child’s body to mark the correct side. He/she will ask you or your child to confirm this.
Induction of anesthesia takes place by means of a mask or intravenous injection (IV), depending on the nature of the procedure and your child’s preference. Try to reassure your child, for example by singing softly or talking to him/her. Children often try to delay the induction, which is a natural reaction. Don’t go along with this, as this only prolongs the tense situation for your child. Too much consoling can be counterproductive, as it reinforces the idea that something unpleasant is going to happen.
After the mask is put on, it will take a little while before your child falls asleep, usually about 30 seconds, or a little longer for bigger children. Once your child has fallen asleep, the mask will remain in place to deepen the anesthesia. While the level of anesthesia is being deepened, your child will enter the excitation or uninhibited stage. Your child may move his/her arms and legs, and will breathe faster and often audibly. This will usually happen after you have left, but can occur before you leave or while you are walking away. Your child will be completely unconscious during this stage, so you do not need to worry about him/her being aware of it.
For the vast majority of procedures your child will then be given an IV, so that additional medications can be administered. Once your child is sleeping so deeply that he/she stops breathing, the anesthesiologist will start artificial respiration.
If your child’s anesthesia is induced by IV, the process will be much quicker.
You must follow the directions and instructions of the anesthesiologist and assistants in the operating room. In some cases, you may be asked to leave the operating room suddenly. If this happens, do not enter into discussion about it; there will be an opportunity for discussion after the surgery.
Let someone know right away if you are not feeling well. The operating room staff need to focus their full attention on caring for your child. Your presence during the induction of anesthesia is your own responsibility.
After surgery, your child will be taken from the operating room to the recovery room where he/she will wake up from the anesthesia. Once the pain and nausea, if applicable, are under control, and the results of all checks are good, your child may return to his/her department.
A department nurse will accompany you to the recovery room to collect your child. Before entering the recovery room, you will put on a special coat. As is the case during induction of anesthesia, you may have to leave the recovery room suddenly. This won't necessarily have anything to do with your child. In the recovery room there will be several patients who have just had surgery. The reason why you suddenly had to leave the recovery room will be explained to you when you are allowed to return to your child.
If you have any questions or require more information, please phone the outpatient clinic 'Preoperatief onderzoek'. You can also contact this outpatient clinic if you have questions or comments about the procedures surrounding anesthesia. 'Preoperatief onderzoek' can be reached by phone weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 17:00 p.m. at: 088 624 51 93.
The secretary of the doctor who treated your child, will discuss with you how the appointment can be made at the outpatient clinic 'Preoperatief onderzoek'.