Preparing Your Teen for Surgery
Teenagers like to be active participants in deciding what happens to them. This also is true when they are hospitalized. When teenagers are included in making decisions about their health care, they are more compliant and cope more effectively. Recognizing typical concerns and reactions of this age group will help you prepare your teen for surgery.
Common fears and concerns teens may have about surgery include:
- Loss of control
- Being away from school and friends
- Having a part of his body damaged or changed in appearance
- Fear of surgery and its risks
- Fear of waking up during surgery
- Fear of pain
- Fear of dying during surgery
- Fear of the unknown
- Fear of what others will think about them being sick or in the hospital
How Do I Prepare My Teenager for Surgery?
Allow your teen to be part of the decision-making process. Encourage him to make a list of questions to ask the doctors and nurses.
For a teenager, learning and preparing for surgery should start as soon as the decision to have surgery is made. Reading books, talking with others who have had similar surgery, and reading information on the Internet can be good places to start this process.
A tour of the hospital before surgery can help your teen see the sights, hear the sounds, run through the events he will experience the day of surgery—and they can even get age-appropriate explanations, including demonstration with actual medical equipment. The tour and preparation will help your child learn about the hospital and give him time to talk about concerns and questions.
Explain procedures or what to expect in different ways without making your teen feel uncomfortable.
Teenagers are often reluctant to admit that they do not understand an explanation. Discuss with your teenager about his preference in disclosing information to friends at school about the planned surgery and whether he would like visitors.
A journal may be a helpful outlet for your teenager to express feelings, concerns and thoughts about his surgery.