Skip to main content
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 hospital for surgery requiring an overnight stay in hospital will be admitted through the Day of Surgery Admissions (DOSA) Unit. Children will go to theatre from this unit and will be taken to a ward after their operation.

How to access this service

Admission times

If you are asked to come to the Hospital between 6:30 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.

Further information

Before admission

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


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 instructions given to you.

If you have any questions, please call the Elective Pre-Admission Coordinator on 8161 7714, Monday – Friday, 8:00am – 4:00pm.

What to bring

  • Medications, tablets, tonics and/or vitamins your child is currently taking
  • pyjamas, dressing gown, slippers
  • favourite toy, teddy of security blanket
  • an unopened tin of formula (if your child is formula-fed). The sterile kitchen will make up the feeds for your child. The tin of formula will be returned to you on discharge.
  • special devices, eg. glasses, splints, CPAP machine
  • machine 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.

On admission

Many things will happen in the Day of Surgery Admissions 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 admit and do a nursing assessment on your child
  • an anaesthetist will examine your child to make sure they are fit to have an anaesthetic, and will discuss the plan and get 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 you haven't done one already).

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

Our play therapist and volunteers will help to entertain and distract your child with games, craft or toys while they are waiting to go for their procedure.

Children usually walk to the holding bay of the theatre complex. If your child has a sedation they will be taken on a barouche.

One parent/carer may accompany your child to the anaesthetic room and remain while the anaesthetic is given. You will then be asked to leave the theatre area. Babies under seven months are usually given the anaesthetic without the parent/carer being present. This will be discussed between you and the Anaesthetist.

Consent for operations and investigations

Only a 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. 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 area.

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.

Overnight stay for parents/carers

One parent/carer is welcome to stay in the ward overnight. Fold out sofa beds/recliner chairs and linen are provided. Siblings under 18 years may not stay at the hospital overnight.

Our staff can provide contact details for local accommodation if required for other family members or caregivers.

Meals and facilities

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

Visiting hours

Parents and carers are welcome at all times. Other visitors are welcome between 10:00am and 8:00pm. Please remind visitors that your child may need to rest, and to keep the amount of visitors and visiting times to a minimum.

Concerns after going home

If you have any concerns about your child after they are discharged, 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).