The day prior

Assessing your health prior to admission

If there have been any recent changes in your health please ensure that your anaesthetist, surgeon or Bowen nursing staff are advised at the earliest opportunity.

For example, if you develop a cold, flu, infection, vomiting, diarrhoea, laceration or breakdown of skin, or suffer an asthma attack prior to your admission to hospital you should let one of the above know as soon as possible, as it may be necessary to postpone your operation.

Eating and drinking before your anaesthetic

If you are undergoing surgery, your stomach must be empty and therefore it is very important to ask your specialist whether you should fast (neither eat nor drink, which includes chewing gum and sweets) before admission, and from what time. Here are some general guidelines, but you will receive specific instructions from your specialist:

Adults and children over 2 years
Do not eat anything for 6 hours before your admission time. You may drink WATER freely up until 2 hours before your admission, then nothing more. Milk is considered a food. Do not have drinks containing milk or eat anything for 6 hours before your admission time. You may drink plain WATER freely up until 2 hours before your admission then nothing more.
Children under 2 years
Cow’s milk or formula may be taken up to 6 hours prior to admission time, and breast milk up to 4 hours before admission. WATER only may be drunk up to 2 hours before admission.

These instructions are for your safety and well-being. Please follow them closely. If your surgeon or anaesthetist gives you other instructions, you must comply with them. Your operation may have to be postponed if you do not follow these guidelines.

Your current medications

You will have discussed with your specialist any regular medications you are taking. Please bring all your usual medications in the original containers to hospital with you, including herbal and dietary supplements.

A detailed list from your general practitioner will help our doctors chart the correct medications for you.

If you are being admitted on the day of your surgery, continue to take your regular medications as prescribed unless advised otherwise.

Patients on anticoagulants need to take special care.

Any anticoagulants (drugs that reduce blood clotting) for example Warfarin should not be taken prior to surgery without consulting your specialist.

Aspirin or Disprin

Is usually, but not always, discontinued in the week prior to surgery. Please check with your specialist.

Failure to stop taking your anticoagulant medications as advised could result in your surgery being postponed.

Alcohol, cigarettes and recreational drugs

We recommend that you avoid alcohol, cigarettes and drugs (other than those drugs your specialist prescribes) during the 24 hours prior to your admission.

The night before and on the day of your surgery

  • Take extra care of your body.
  • Do not shave near where you will be having surgery. Shaving can irritate your skin and this may lead to infection.
  • Keep warm. Wear warm clothes to the hospital and, in cold weather, heat up the car before you get in. Keeping warm before surgery can lower your chance of getting an infection.
  • Please do not apply moisturisers or hair gel and remove make-up, nail polish, body piercings and jewellery. Make-up and moisturisers interfere with and, in some cases, block transmission of important operating-room equipment.
  • If applicable, please leave your medic alert bracelet / pendant on.

Transport to hospital

In case of traffic congestion, please allow yourself plenty of time to get to the hospital. It is always better to be early rather than late and you will feel more relaxed. However, if unavoidable circumstances delay your arrival, please telephone us (04) 479 2069.

What to bring to hospital

Checklist: what to bring to hospital

  • Your admission forms and health questionnaire (or copies if already posted to us).
  • X-rays and scans relevant to your surgery.
  • All your usual medications (including herbal and dietary supplements) in their original containers – please refer to important 'medications' information.
  • Your medical insurance company’s letter of prior approval.
  • ACC’s letter authorising your treatment in a private hospital.
  • Glasses and physical aids (walking sticks, hearing aids, etc).
  • Comfortable clothing and footwear.
  • It is a good idea for children to bring their favourite toy or blanket.

Patients staying one or more nights:

  • Suitable nightwear and dressing gown.
  • Slippers.
  • Toiletries.
  • Reading and writing material.

Checklist: what not to bring

  • Large amounts of cash.
  • Jewellery.
  • Other valuables.

While we take great care to secure personal effects, Bowen Hospital cannot guarantee their security and cannot accept responsibility for their safekeeping.