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The Women's and Children's Hospital is located on the traditional lands for the Kaurna people, and we respect their spiritual relationship with their Country. We also acknowledge that the Kaurna people are the custodians of the Adelaide region, and that their cultural and heritage beliefs are still as important to the living Kaurna people today.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices and names of people who have passed away.

Most children coming to the WCH for day surgery are admitted through the Day of Surgery Admissions (DOSA) Unit. Day Surgery patients will generally return to the Day Surgery Unit after their operation.

Day Surgery patients will be discharged (leave the hospital to go home) when they have fully recovered from their anaesthesia/sedation.

How to access this service

Admission times

If you are asked to come to the Hospital between 6:30am and 7:00am, your child will have their procedure between 8:30am and 12 noon.

If you are asked to come to the Hospital at 11:00am, your child will have their procedure between 1:00pm and 4:00pm.

Children are admitted in order of the procedure list, not in order of arrival. Emergencies and delays can occur – staff will keep you informed.

Confirmation of admission

Before admission you will need to fill in a Health Questionnaire for your child. Please follow the link below. If you don’t have access to a computer, please ask for a paper copy when your child is seen in the Outpatient Department or in the private rooms.

Please phone the hospital seven (7) working days before your child is scheduled to come to hospital to confirm the surgery.

  • Phone (08) 8161 6606 between 9am and 4pm, Monday to Friday (except public holidays).

If you need to change the date of surgery or if your child is unwell because of a cough, cold, skin sores or other infection, please phone the hospital.

Please tell the hospital if you change your address or phone number or if you go away for an extended holiday.

Further information

Medication before admission

Continue to take ALL medications with a sip of water unless advised otherwise. Bring a list of your child's medications with you to hospital (including strength and dosage), as well as your Medicare, Pension and/or HealthCare card.

Ibuprofen (eg. Nurofen©) should not be taken three (3) days prior to surgery or as advised by your doctor. Your child may still take Paracetamol (eg. Panadol©) for pain relief. Please stop taking fish oil two (2) weeks prior to surgery. If your child is on Aspirin, please contact us.

Before admission

  • Please bath/shower your child
  • Follow the fasting instructions for your child
  • Remove your child's jewellery, piercings, make up and nail polish.


  • Having food or drink in the stomach can be dangerous during or after an anaesthetic, as stomach contents may enter the lungs.
  • Please follow the fasting instructions in the Admission letter or given to you during the confirmation of surgery phone call.
  • If you have any questions regarding fasting, please call the Elective Pre-Admission Coordinator on 8161 7714, Monday – Friday.
  • Your children over six months should not have food or milk for six hours before the scheduled time of the procedure. Cordial or water may be given up to one hour before the scheduled time.
  • Babies less than six months should not have breast milk or formula for four hours before the scheduled time of the procedure. Clear fluids may be given until two hours before the scheduled time.
  • If this is not the case for your child you will be advised before coming to hospital.
  • Please don’t bring food and drinks into DOSA, as children are fasting.

What to bring

  • medications, tablets, tonics and or vitamins your child is currently taking
  • favourite toy/teddy/security blanket
  • nappies
  • a bottle of milk (if bottle fed)
  • a special cup or food your child prefers (food and drink is provided after all procedures)
  • special devices, eg glasses, splints
  • inhalers and spacers
  • X-rays relating to current condition
  • medical request forms
  • Personal health record book (blue book)
  • Medicare card, health care card or private health fund card, outpatient appointment card

There is limited space for personal possessions. Please be aware that the hospital is not responsible for your personal possessions.

Other children

It is best that other siblings and children do not come with you to the hospital as there is always a waiting time before children have their procedure.

On admission

Many things will happen in the Day of Surgery Admissions (DOSA) area while you are waiting for your child to have the procedure:

  • an admission clerk will check your personal details and provide your child with a name band
  • a nurse will assess your child and explain the schedule for the day
  • an anaesthetist will examine your child to make sure they are fit to have an anaesthetic
  • the anaesthetist will ask you to sign a consent form for the anaesthetic
  • a medical officer may also examine your child and ask you to sign a consent form for the procedure
  • if it is planned to start the anaesthetic by injection, local anaesthetic cream may be put on to numb the area of skin where the drip is to be put in

It is important that neither you or your child leave the area unless you have told the nurse looking after your child.

Our play coordinator will help to entertain and distract your child with games, crafts or toys while you are waiting to go to theatre.

Children usually walk to the holding bay of the theatre. If your child has a sedation they will ride on a barouche. One parent/carer may accompany your child to the anaesthetic room and remain while the anaesthetic is given. Babies under seven months are usually given the anaesthetic without the parent/carer being present.

Consent for operations and investigations

Only a parent or legal guardian may sign a consent form. Please do not leave the admissions area until you have signed:

  • a consent form for the operation/procedure
  • a consent form for the anaesthesia.

During the procedure

When your child is asleep staff will take or direct you to your child's ward – usually the Day Surgery Unit. We recommend you remain in the ward/parent room until your child returns from recovery. It is very important that doctors can contact you if necessary, so please let the staff know if you leave the Unit.

After the procedure

Soon after your child is awake in recovery, a parent or carer will be able to come to Recovery and be with your child until they are ready to go to the post-operative ward.

Your child may be upset when they wake up. This is common after anaesthesia but does not necessarily mean they are in pain and children usually settle after a while. It is important to keep them within their own bed space, either on the bed or on your lap.

Lie your child down if possible as this will reduce the chance of vomiting.

If your child is still drowsy when they come back from Recovery, it is best to let them sleep. Food and drink will be introduced slowly.

Meals and facilities

Meals and snacks for parents and carers are available from the café. Most wards have a parent room providing tea and coffee. Hot drinks must not be consumed in the clinical areas.

Going home

If your child is able to go home on the same day, they are usually discharged 1-2 hours after their procedure, depending on how well they recover. Medical and nursing staff will explain your child's specific discharge care.

Transport home should be by private vehicle or taxi – public transport is not recommended.

If you live more than 100 kilometres from the hospital, you and your child will need to stay in Adelaide overnight as it is unsafe to travel this distance after your child has had an anaesthetic. Please refer to the following fact sheet which shows the 100 kilometre zone:

When you travel home by car, it is recommended that a second adult be with you to allow you to care for your child on the way home if they become unwell.

Accommodation Options

Appropriate accommodation may include staying with a relative or friend that lives less than 100 kilometres from the hospital, or arranging accommodation at a hotel/motel or apartment of your choice.

We can assist you by providing you with some contact details for local accommodation close to the hospital.

Wound care and complications

If your child has a wound that starts to bleed, put light pressure on it for 10 minutes. If the bleeding continues, or if you have any concerns about your child, contact your family doctor, the WCH (phone (08) 8161 7000) or go to your nearest medical clinic or hospital.



(08) 8161 7666 between 9am and 4pm, Monday to Friday (except public holidays)