Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital provides a comprehensive range of inpatient and outpatient surgical procedures in our 10 operating rooms. Your surgical team offers the latest techniques and technologies to speed your recovery. They are dedicated to providing excellent clinical care, and to easing the often-disorienting experience of surgery for patients and their caregivers. Your safety and care is the number one priority of all staff and physicians at Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital.
Getting to know your surgical team
You will have a dedicated and skilled team that will assist the surgeon. The number differs depending on the type of surgery, but most teams include the following:
- Surgeon – will guide your care and perform the surgery
- Washington University resident physician – in some incidences, another physician may assist with your care under the direction of your surgeon
- Anesthesiologist – will evaluate your surgery needs and is specially trained to keep you safe during surgery, in recovery and to manage your pain
- Certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) – will safely administer the anesthetics
- Post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) nurse – will provide your care while you are recovering from anesthesia after surgery
- Surgical technicians – will set up a sterile environment, prepare supplies and handle the surgeons requested instruments
- Dedicated team of registered surgical nurses
Getting Ready for Surgery
Many factors go into the success of your surgery, please follow these guidelines and consult with your surgeon’s office for additional details regarding preparing for your specific surgery.
Night before surgery
- Eat a filling dinner. You cannot eat or drink anything after midnight, including chewing gum, lozenges, mints or water. Children preparing for surgery may have other instructions for eating and drinking that they will receive from their surgeon.
- Take medication as you were instructed by your surgeon or your pre-assessment nurse.
- Remove all nail polish from your fingernails. Unless instructed, toe nail polish does not need to be removed.
- Bathe or shower using any special cleansing solutions or soap that your surgeon instructed you to use.
- Wear freshly-washed clothes and sleep in clean sheets. This will help prevent infection.
- Pack any needed personal items in your bag. Jewelry, valuables and large amounts of money should be left at home.
- Pack your insurance card and a photo ID. You will need this at registration the day of your surgery.
- Your insurance company may require you to pay a co-pay the day of your surgery. The registration staff is able to accept a check or credit card. All health insurance plans are different. If you have questions about your financial responsibility, please contact your insurance company or read our Financial Assistance Policy so we can assist you.
Day of surgery
- To help prevent infection, clothing and hygiene is important. The morning of your surgery, you will need to prepare your skin by bathing or showering with any special cleansing solutions or soap that your surgeon instructed you to use.
- Do not use any nail polish, lotions, deodorant, makeup, perfume or body sprays on the day of surgery. Come “natural.”
- Wear loose-fitting clothing and comfortable walking shoes and socks. No flip-flops, sandals or Crocs.
- If instructed, take medication the morning of your surgery, with a sip of water.
- Follow any special instruction given to you by your surgeon.
- Leave all valuables at home.
- Bring your bag with any needed personal items, your insurance card and a photo ID.
- If you suspect you are pregnant, please notify your surgeon immediately.
- If you think you have an infection or if you have had even a minor change in health (cough, cold or fever), please contact your surgeon’s office immediately.
Arrival and checking in
It is very important that you arrive at your scheduled time. If you will be late or you cannot keep your surgery appointment, please notify the scheduling desk at 314.996.8480.
- Patient check-in:
- Enter the new hospital at the emergency room (located at the northeast corner of the building). Once inside, there is an information desk to your right. Ask to be directed to "Surgery Registration on the Procedural Floor."
- You will check in at the registration desk on the procedural floor, which is just outside the elevators.
- After you check in, you will go through hospital registration. Here you will submit any needed co-pay, and we will provide you with information on HIPAA Notice of Privacy Practices and Patient Rights and Responsibilities.
- A team member will take you and your family member and/or a caregiver to either the Olive Atrium or Courtyard Terrace waiting area.
- A nurse will come and escort you to the pre-operative area where you will meet many of your team members that will be taking care of you.
- Once your pre-operative assessment is complete, one family member and/or a caregiver will be allowed to join you and stay with you during the time your team is preparing you for surgery.
Before going into the operating room
- A nurse will do an assessment which includes reviewing your medications and health history.
- We will start an IV in your arm.
- Your anesthesiologist will talk about the most appropriate anesthetic for you and the plan to best manage your pain after surgery.
- Your surgeon will mark where the surgery will occur.
Before and during surgery
- You will be taken into one of the operating rooms and introduced to the rest of your surgery team.
- You will be given your anesthesia.
- A “time-out” is performed to verify the following: your name, date of birth, procedure site, allergies and presence of any implants or devices.
- Throughout your surgery your surgical team will take excellent care of you. They will monitor your breathing, heart rate and blood pressure
- Updates about your progress will be given to your family member and/or a caregiver by cell phone.
- You will wake up in the Post-Operative Care Unit (PACU) when your surgery is complete. You will recover here until ready for discharge.
- A post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) nurse and an anesthesiologist will monitor you, keeping you safe and comfortable.
- You will be attended to by a registered nurse with advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) certification while your pain is measured, assessed and medicated.
- If your surgeon or procedure requires an overnight stay, a nurse will escort you to one of our hospital rooms.
Planning your discharge
- Depending on the type of surgery and your surgeon's instructions, the length of time you stay will vary.
- After meeting all the medical criteria, you will be discharged by your anesthesiologist.
- Your nurse will bring your discharge instructions from your surgeon and review all instructions with you. If you do not understand any discharge information, please ask as many questions as you like so you are confident about what to do when you get home.
- You will be transported in a wheelchair to your car.
- Someone will need to drive you home after surgery. For safety reasons, we cannot allow a patient to drive him or herself home following a surgical procedure that requires anesthesia. Patients should be accompanied by a responsible adult.
Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital is here to help whenever you have a question. Call your surgeon’s office or the main hospital at 314.996.8000 so we can assist you.