Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide
Information for day surgery

Information about day surgery

Most children coming to hospital for day surgery will be admitted through the WCH page link iconDay of Surgery Admissions (DOSA) Unit.  Day Surgery patients will generally return to the WCH page link iconDay Surgery Unit after their operation and will be discharged (leave the hospital to go home) when they have fully recovered from their anaesthesia/sedation.

Confirmation of admission

Before admission you will be given a health questionnaire to complete for your child. Please follow the instructions for returning the questionnaire.

Please phone the hospital three working days before your child is scheduled to come to hospital to confirm the surgery.

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.

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

Medication before admission

Medication containing Aspirin should not be taken for two weeks before your child's surgery.  Paracetamol may be used for pain relief.  If you have any questions about medication please contact your child's doctor.

Before admission

  • Please bath your child
  • Follow the fasting instructions for your child
  • Remove all jewellery 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. 

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 two hours 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.

No food and drinks are permitted in DOSA because children are fasting.

What to bring

  • Medications, tablets, tonics and or vitamins your child is currently taking
  • change of clothes
  • favourite toy and 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
  • Ventolin 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.

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. There are no facilities for other children in DOSA or the Guilford Day Surgery Unit. Siblings may be cared for in the WCH WCH page link iconcreche.

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.

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 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 WCH page link iconDay 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

WCH page link iconMeal for parents and caregivers are available from the cafe. 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.

If you live more than 100km away from the WCH, it is a requirement that you make special arrangements to stay in Adelaide overnight. Transport home should be by private vehicle or taxi – public transport is not recommended. When you travel home by car, a second adult should be with you to allow you to care for your child on the way home.

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.

last modified: 08 Apr 2020