inside TAU

Reception

When you arrive at the Theatre Admissions Unit (TAU) a member of nursing staff will open the door and welcome you in.

At the reception desk we’ll make sure all your details are correct and check you in to the hospital system so our medical teams know that you’re here for your appointment.

We’ll also give your child a name band and will put local anaesthetic cream on the back of their hands ready for the general anaesthetic.

Waiting area

This is where you will wait with your child until they are called for their operation.

Your child will be weighed and measured here. This is important for working out the doses of anaesthetic and any medication they may need after their operation.

The waiting area has colour coded seats so that our medical staff know where to find you.

Doctors and nurses may come and talk to you about your child’s operation in this area, or if you’d like some privacy we have a number of individual consulting rooms.

You will usually be seen by a TAU nurse, a surgeon and an anaesthetist before the operating list starts. After that there may be a wait until your child’s turn in theatre.

We also have a teenagers’ lounge where older patients may prefer to wait. This has computer games, a television, magazines and games. This is in the corner of the room by the mirrors.

Your child will be asked to change into a hospital gown before going to theatre. A number of lockers are available where you can leave your personal belongings.

When it is your child’s turn to go to theatre a theatre escort will come and collect them. Only one parent/carer is allowed in the anaesthetic room but any other relatives are welcome to wait outside theatres.

You will be given a pager which will bleep when your child enters the recovery room. While your child is in theatre we recommend you find refreshment for yourselves in our cafe or restaurant. When the pager bleeps please return to Theatre Reception, so we can find you nearby as your child wakes up.

If you need anything or if you have any questions, just come and speak to a member of staff at the TAU nurses’ station.

Play area

TAU has play and entertainment facilities for patients of all ages.

Young children enjoy the play kitchen, books, toys and games and can get involved with art and craft activities with our full time Play Specialist and hospital volunteers.

Pre-school children can play safely in the soft play area, while older children can play computer games, read magazines and watch DVDs.

For babies we have musical toys and can provide a space for you to change your baby’s nappy and breastfeed (although your baby may not be able to feed before going to theatre – please check with a member of nursing staff if you are unsure about this).

The play area also has a parents’ resource wall where you can read about a range of subjects including pain relief, scans and anaesthesia.

Recovery area

After your child’s operation has finished they will begin to wake up in Recovery. At this point you will be called to Theatre Reception by your pager so you are nearby when your child is ready for you. The time you wait in Theatre Reception is variable depending on how quickly your child wakes up. Once your child is fully awake they will be brought to TAU for second stage recovery.

If your child requires inpatient care they will be transferred straight to a ward.

What happens in the TAU recovery area

This is where children continue to recover from their anaesthetic and have something to eat and drink.

Patients are typically in the recovery area for 1-1.5 hours although this can vary depending on the operation. If your child has had their tonsils out for instance, they may be here for around six hours. If they’ve had a very minor procedure they could be here for less than an hour.

This is also where we make arrangements for your child to be discharged from hospital. We offer nurse-led discharge which means that once you, your child and our nursing staff are satisfied that they have fully recovered, you are free to return home without seeing a doctor.

If a patient has come round but doesn’t feel quite ready to leave the hospital, we have a small lounge next to the recovery area where parents and children can sit together.

After discharge

Before you leave, the nurse will give you verbal and written information about any follow-up appointments your child may need and any specific wound care and pain relief advice.

Parents are advised to provide their own paracetamol and ibuprofen. We will give you written information that explains when to give the next dose and how often you will need to do this.

Some children will have take-home medicines which you will need to collect from Pharmacy before discharge. Children having certain operations, for instance tonsillectomy, may need stronger pain relief in addition to regular paracetamol and ibuprofen. In these circumstances we will provide a small quantity of oral morphine (oramorph) which can be used as necessary over the first few days following the operation. The dose is carefully worked out to be correct for your child and we encourage you to make use of the oral morphine if your child is uncomfortable.

We discourage travel home by public transport and would suggest that two adults are present on the journey home so that one can drive and one can concentrate on your child.

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