How to Prepare for Your Hospital Visit | Midwest Orthopedic Specialty Hospital

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Preparing for Your Visit

Our goal is to provide you with the highest quality of orthopedic care, and part of that care is making sure you're prepared for your visit.

Preparing for a Doctor's Office Visit

For the most effective appointment, here are five things you can do in advance to assure you leave your office visit well informed and satisfied with the care you received:

  1. Make a list of your questions and concerns. That way, you won’t forget to mention any issues that are important to you.
  2. Prioritize the topics you want to cover. You want your most serious concerns addressed first. If you have a lot of issues to cover, let the office know at scheduling so the doctor has enough time.
  3. Bring a list of medications you're taking. This includes herbal medications, over-the-counter medicines and prescriptions. List the names of meds, doses, and frequency. If it’s difficult to make a list, put all the bottles in a bag and bring in the bag.
  4. Consider bringing someone with you. This person can provide support, take notes and help you remember the information.
  5. Ask the doctor to explain anything you don’t understand. Information about your condition or medication is only helpful if you understand it. If you are confused about something, ask the doctor to repeat it or explain things differently. If the doctor speaks too softly or quickly, ask him or her to slow down and speak up. Make sure that you hear and understand everything.

We look forward to seeing you!

Preparing for Surgery

Before Your Surgery

We understand that preparing for a procedure may cause a few nervous moments, especially if you haven’t undergone surgery before. We hope the following information will help relieve some of your natural concerns and meet the needs of you and your family as you prepare for surgery:

  • Have your doctor explain exactly what the surgical process is and why surgery is necessary.
  • Be sure you understand all the risks and benefits of your surgery, as well as potential risks if you choose not to have the procedure done.
  • Assess your work and family schedule to determine what the best time is to schedule surgery.
  • Attend all scheduled pre-surgical appointments and be available to provide medical information. Bring someone with you to your pre-surgical appointments to take notes. Write down your questions ahead of time to discuss with your physician. A nurse or anesthesiologist may call to discuss your care in the time leading up to surgery.
  • Discuss with your physician expected recovery time; include your family and friends in your recovery plan.
  • Make arrangements for a ride to and from the hospital, since any surgery requiring anesthesia will render you unable to drive yourself home.
  • Line up a few helpers during your first days after surgery. You may need help running errands, picking up prescriptions and driving to follow-up appointments.
  • Choose one trusted person to help you make medical decisions. Listening to a committee of family and friends is likely to be stressful and confusing.
  • Know your rehab and physical therapy plan ahead of time. Commit to following it.

For Patients Having Foot or Ankle Surgery
  • If you already have your own walker or crutches, bring them to the hospital to be fitted by your therapist.
  • If you do not already have crutches or a walker, you and your therapist in the hospital will help you determine which device is best for you.
  • If you are not able to safely use a walker or crutches, you may need either wheelchair or a knee scooter. These can be rented or purchased through a medical supply store and are not available at the hospital. Please check with your insurance carrier and medical supply store prior to your stay if you anticipate the need for this equipment.
  • Find out how to prepare your home before you have surgery.

For Patients Having Spine Surgery
The following manuals, provided with permission from the National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses, will help you prepare for and recover from spine surgery:

  • Pre- and Post-Operative Spine Surgery Patient Manuals (PDFs)
    English | Spanish

Please ask you surgeon for any activity, therapy or intimacy restrictions.

Joint Effort Classes

Talk with your doctor about attending one of our Joint Classes prior to surgery. You will receive this binder for Hip & Knee Surgery (PDF) or Shoulder Surgery (PDF). Joint Effort is a philosophy based on a collaborative effort between the patient and our staff. Classes are designed to help you feel more prepared and therefore more confident about what to expect during your hospital stay and once you are home.

Our goal is provide the highest quality of care as your partner in health.

Hip and Knee Replacement
Classes are offered Mondays at 4 pm and Thursdays at 9 am at Midwest Orthopedic Specialty Hospital.

Shoulder Replacement
Classes are offered the fourth Tuesday of the month at 9:30 am and the second Wednesday of the month at 3 pm at Midwest Orthopedic Specialty Hospital.

Surgery Eve & Day-Of Surgery Instructions

Don't Eat or Drink

  • It's generally recommended to not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery. This includes water, candy or gum.
  • Anesthesia can cause nausea and vomiting if the stomach is not empty.
  • If the surgery involves the abdomen, there will also be a need to have an empty bowel.
  • Your doctor will provide specific instructions for your preoperative diet – pay close attention to these instructions.

Pack Light

  • A bag of toiletries and some loose comfortable clothes is a good start.
  • Bring crutches, walker, inhalers and CPAP machine if applicable.
  • If you are staying overnight, we encourage you to bring comfort items to assist in the healing process. Such items may include DVDs, iPod and laptop.

Bring Hospital Documents & Current Medications

  • Bring any documents your doctor has given you.
  • Bring picture ID and your insurance card.
  • Bring a list of your current medications, including vitamins or supplements.


  • Plan to arrive as directed by Pre-Admission Testing, generally 60-90 minutes prior to surgery start time.
  • There may be some waiting time before the procedure, so it’s a good idea to bring a book or magazine to read.
  • Professional valet drivers are available to safely park your car.
  • Bring anticipated co-pay with you and a small amount of cash for equipment, prescriptions or possible van service.

What Happens Just Prior to Surgery

  • Prior to surgery your blood pressure, pulse, respiratory rate and temperature will be checked.
  • Your family will be allowed to stay with you in your room until you are transported to the operating room.

What Happens After Surgery

  • Upon recovery you may find yourself wearing a blood pressure cuff, oximeter and EKG leads.
  • The IV remains in place to deliver medication and fluids intravenously.

Pain Management

  • You are encouraged to notify the nurse immediately if pain is not sufficiently relieved; it is easier to control pain when it is mild than when it is severe.
  • You may not experience total pain relief but should have a pain rating that you consider acceptable and allows you rest, deep breathe and do your therapy.
  • Surgical pain lessens each day as your incision begins to heal.

Thirst & Nourishment

  • Some patients may only be allowed ice chips, sips of water or clear liquids the first day or two.
  • During this time nutritional needs are met through IV fluids. Patients then progress toward a regular well-balanced diet.
  • Room service is available. A menu for dining will be in your room.

Circulation & Movement

  • Changing position in bed, walking and prescribed exercise promotes circulation.
  • Good blood flow discourages the formation of blood clots and enhances healing.
  • Each day the patient is encouraged to increase physical activity and to be as independent as possible.

Surgical Incisions

  • You should expect pain in the area of the incision.
  • Report any unusual pain, swelling, fever, redness, discharge, numbness or flu-like symptoms immediately.

Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation

  • PT may begin as early as the day of surgery.
  • PT is an important part of recovery because it helps the patient build strength, flexibility and endurance.
  • Many patients are given a home exercise program to continue their progress.

Hospital Discharge

  • Prior to discharge, patients will be given orthopedic post operation instructions and necessary prescriptions or medications.
  • The instructions provide reminders for aspects of home care.
  • You can expect to be tired in the first days following surgery.
  • Plan rest periods in your day during recovery.
  • If required, plan to schedule your follow-up appointment shortly after arriving home.

Preparing Your Child for Surgery

  • Having an elective procedure gives you time to prepare your child psychologically for the hospital and the surgery.
  • Good preparation can help kids feel less anxious about the anesthesia and surgery and get through the recovery period faster.
  • Provide information at your child’s level of understanding, correct misunderstandings and dispel any fears.
  • Allow your child to share his or her fears and let them know it’s okay to feel afraid.
  • Help your child understand why the surgery is needed and become familiar with the hospital and the procedures he or she will undergo.
  • Compare the time your child will be in surgery to the length of a favorite cartoon or video.
  • Explain that you’ll be there when your child wakes up — and a favorite toy can come along, too.
  • Tell your child that if anything feels sore right after the operation, a doctor or nurse can give medication that will make it feel better.
  • Encourage your child’s questions about the health problem and hospital experience, so that other fears and anxieties can be expressed.
  • Take all questions seriously and answer them to the best of your ability.
  • If you don’t know an answer, tell your child that you’ll find it out, and explain that the doctors and nurses are happy to answer questions, too.
  • Remember, your tone of voice, facial expressions, gestures and body language send powerful messages.
  • If you appear fearful, your child is likely to feel fearful regardless of the words you use.
  • Schedule a pre-operative tour, program or orientation as soon as the appointment for the surgery is made.
  • Children who are less anxious and fearful about a procedure have an easier time before and after surgery.

Driving Directions

For driving directions to Midwest Orthopedic Specialty Hospital or your doctor's office, please visit our locations directory and choose the location you'll be visiting.

Insurance Coverage

We encourage you to make sure you're familiar with the terms of your health insurance plan in order to anticipate coverage and out-of-pocket payments. Please contact your insurance company directly for details.