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Same Day Surgery

At Children’s Mercy, we know that having surgery is a major event for you and your child. We want to help make this experience as smooth and comfortable as possible. The department is staffed by the region’s top surgeons, nurses and anesthesiologists who specialize in providing care for children. In addition, we have Child Life Specialists on staff each day to help provide activities and comfort for patients of all ages. Our goal is to create a positive experience for you and your child.

Children’s Mercy Same Day Surgery is specially designed for families who have a planned surgical procedure for their child. The majority of children will go home shortly after their procedure, but some will stay in the hospital several hours for monitoring (observation stay). Children who require additional care will stay overnight, or possibly longer (morning admission).

Pre-admission testing

A pre-admission testing (PAT) visit is scheduled for children who have chronic or significant medical conditions, complex needs or require lab (blood) work and/or other tests prior to the day of surgery. If you feel your child meets the need for a PAT visit prior to surgery or if you would like more information, please contact Pre-admission Testing at (816) 802-1238 or toll-free at (888) 561-2403. Appointments are scheduled Monday through Friday (except holidays) from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The child must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian for these visits.

How to prepare your child for surgery

We know that surgery is a major event for you and your child. If your child does not need to come in for a PAT visit, we have some additional options available.

To ease some of your worries and learn more information about your day of surgery, we welcome you to visit our Guide to Surgery page. You and your child can watch a video about having surgery and look at our online picture books to help you feel comfortable before they arrive.

The Child Life Department promotes a positive environment for patients and families, based upon the child’s needs. If you are interested in talking with a Child Life Specialist about your child’s upcoming surgery, and/or would like to schedule a pre-operative teaching session for your child, please call (816) 983-6870 for Children’s Mercy Adele Hall Campus.

We encourage you to be honest and open with your child about their pending procedure. Be positive, confident and reassuring.

Be sure to explore our Common Questions Before Surgery page for answers to some of the questions you may have.

Prior to surgery


About one week prior to surgery, a nurse will call you to discuss your child’s medical history. They will want to know about medical conditions, medications, previous surgeries, allergies and any family history that involves complications with anesthesia. Please be sure to let the nurse know about any illness your child may have had within the past two months.

One to two business days before surgery, a nurse will call you to provide your arrival time to Same Day Surgery, as well as your child’s eating and drinking instructions. They will also discuss your child’s current health and any questions you may have. Please follow these important instructions you receive during this call to ensure your child is ready for surgery. Disregarding the instructions can endanger your child’s health, and surgery may be delayed or cancelled. Please have your child shower or bathe the night prior (or morning of) surgery, as this has been shown to decrease the risk of surgical site infections.

The day of surgery

Please arrive at Same Day Surgery at the time given to you during your pre-op phone call the day before surgery. (This will be 60 to 90 minutes prior to the scheduled surgery time.) You will register at the admissions desk and with the nursing staff. Then you may have a seat in the waiting room. Because our space is limited, we ask that only two adults accompany the patient. Please make other arrangements for siblings, because the child having surgery will need your full attention. We ask that no one who is ill accompany the patient.

A nurse will invite you and your child to an examination room, where you will help your child change into a gown and slippers. The nurse will then obtain your child’s height, weight and vital signs, and ask when your child last had something to eat and drink. You will then meet with an anesthesiologist and talk with your child’s surgeon. When it is time for surgery, a nurse from the operating room will direct you to the surgery family waiting room and take your child to surgery. During the operation and recovery period, you will need to stay in the waiting room.

Important information for families

A Same Day Surgery nurse will call you one to two business days prior to your child’s surgery with important information about your child’s arrival time and your child’s eating and drinking restrictions. If you have not received your instructions by 5 p.m., we may not have your current phone number. Please call (816) 234-3534 and we will be happy to assist you.

Children must be accompanied to any Pre-Admission Testing visits and on their surgery day by a parent or legal guardian.

Please do not bring anyone with you who is ill. All adults over 18 entering the hospital will need to show photo identification.

After surgery

When your child’s operation is over, they will go to the recovery room, where they will have one-on-one care from a registered nurse. The surgeon will meet and talk with you while your child is in the recovery room. Once your child is beginning to wake up and is comfortable, you will be able to see your child. It is our goal to reunite you with your child as soon as possible. However, your child’s safe recovery is our most important concern.

Observation and dismissal

Your child will return to Same Day Surgery Phase II (dismissal area) from the recovery room. You may want to hold them or let them rest in a recliner. We ask you to stay in this area with your child. Because space is limited, only two adults are allowed to stay with the child. During this time, your child will continue to awaken and we will monitor them.

The length of stay varies greatly upon the type and length of surgery. If your child requires longer observation (two to five hours) you will go to an extended care area. If your child is not nauseous, clear liquids may be provided. The nurse will let you know when your child can go home. Before you and your child leave, you will receive dismissal instructions and numbers to call if you have any questions or concerns.

The day after your child’s surgery, you will receive a follow-up call from a registered nurse to check on your child and answer any questions.

Observation stay

Observation stay is for children requiring even longer observation (six to 23 hours) after surgery. You and your child will be taken to a hospital room. You will meet your child’s nurse, who will take your child's vital signs and orient you to the room.

We would like you to stay and participate in your child’s care during this time. The length of stay varies upon type and length of surgery and your surgeon’s preference, as well as how your child is doing. Before you and your child leave, you will receive dismissal instructions.

Morning admissions (overnight stay)

Morning admission is for children requiring one or more days of observation after surgery. You and your child will be taken to a hospital room. You will meet your child’s nurse, who will take their vital signs and orient you to the unit.

We encourage you to stay at your child’s bedside and help with his care. One parent is welcome to spend the night in the child’s room. Most rooms are private. Before you and your child leave the hospital you will receive dismissal instructions.