When Surgery does not Require an Overnight Stay

Outpatient Surgery

Surgery does not always mean an over-night stay at the hospital. At Penn Highlands Healthcare, outpatient surgery, also known as ambulatory or office-based surgery, is becoming more common.

Outpatient surgery provides patients with the convenience of recovering at home, and can be performed at lower cost. Most outpatient surgeries can take anywhere between a few minutes to a few hours.

Although outpatient surgeries may not be medical emergencies, they still require some form of anesthesia or pain medication. The same anesthetic techniques used in hospitals may be used for outpatient surgery, ranging from local anesthesia to numb a small area of the body to general anesthesia, which results in total loss of consciousness and pain sensation. The surgery will most likely require you to prepare in the same way that you would for hospital-based surgery.

Your physician will give you specific instructions on how to prepare the night before and day of your surgery. By being prepared before surgery, you can increase your chances of a safe and successful experience.

Outpatient Surgery at Penn Highlands Huntingdon

Your surgeon has scheduled an outpatient surgical procedure for you at Penn Highlands Huntingdon Hospital. In an effort to make your day of surgery as easy and comfortable as possible, we have a few suggestions and reminders.

Before your procedure, read all the information in the educational packet from the hospital, provided to you by your physician so that you and your support person know what to expect. If you have questions, call the Pre-Anesthesia Testing office, 814-643-8625 or contact your physician.

We look forward to serving you and will make certain that your visit is as comfortable and convenient as possible.

About the Ambulatory Care Unit

The Ambulatory Care Unit is for patients whose surgery can be completed in a single day. You arrive in the morning, undergo surgery, and return home the same day. The brief stay in the Hospital will cost less for you and your insurance company and is often more convenient for you and your family.

  • Your surgeon will schedule the date of your operation during your office visit, and the Pre-Anesthesia testing Staff will contact you the day before your surgery, typically afternoon with your arrival time. This arrival time is NOT the time your surgery is scheduled; it will allow an ample period of time to prepare you for surgery.
  • Patients and families are encouraged to bring books or personal music devices on the day of the surgery to enjoy during their wait times.

If for any reason you know you will be away from home the day before surgery, please call the Hospital at 814-643-8404 anytime after 4:00 PM to ask for your arrival time.

Pre-Anesthesia Testing (P.A.T)

Before your surgery, your surgeon's office will forward information from your pre-anesthesia questionnaire to the Pre-anesthesia testing office for the anesthesia doctor to review. The anesthesia doctor will determine if you require a visit for P.A.T. or if a phone call from the P.A.T. staff is sufficient. If a P.A.T. visit is required the staff will contact you to set up an appointment. The pre-anesthesia interview is presently done in the 3rd floor P.A.T. office.

During your pre-anesthesia phone call you will receive instructions from the Ambulatory Care Unit nurse about your surgery visit. You will also be asked questions about your medical history and medications.

If you are asked to come in for a pre-anesthesia interview, you will
be interviewed by the anesthesia department.

Please be sure to have all testing done as instructed by your surgeon’s office or at least 7 days prior to surgery.

Please bring your health insurance card and a list of current medications to your testing appointment. (If you do not have health insurance, arrangements for payment need to be made. You must call (814) 643-8844 or 8495 to discuss payment arrangements.)

If you use the CART for transportation, be sure to alert your surgeon's office personnel to this, so they can schedule your appointment accordingly.

On the Day of Your Surgery

DO NOT EAT OR DRINK ANYTHING AFTER 12:00 MIDNIGHT ON THE NIGHT BEFORE SURGERY OR THE MORNING OF YOUR SURGERY. DO NOT USE TOBACCO IN ANY FORM. Your cooperation is required to help ensure your safety and comfort. Please follow these important instructions before you arrive for surgery.

The pre-anesthesia nurse will advise you, as instructed by the anesthesia doctor, what medications you may take the morning of surgery.

When you arrive at the Hospital on the day of surgery you should report to the Hospitality Volunteer at the Information Desk in the Main Lobby or the Emergency Department Clerk if a volunteer is not available. When the Ambulatory Care Unit calls for you, you will be directed to the Unit and asked to put on a Hospital gown and prepare for surgery. Part of your preparation includes measures to prevent infection which includes a final cleaning of the surgical area, if ordered, and a blood sugar check. They will also swab each of your nostrils which is another infection prevention measure. To prevent blood clots after surgery, they may place special compression socks/tights on your legs or a sequential compression device, which automatically stimulates circulation, or blood flow. The nurse will also review your medications and ask you the time of your last dose.

Informed Consent

You will be asked to sign an informed consent if you have not signed one at your physician's office. Patients under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to complete this process. Without this informed consent, surgery will not be performed

Support Persons

Since you will be given anesthetic drugs, you will not be permitted to drive home. Please arrange to have a responsible adult available to drive you home after surgery. This person may wait with you in the Ambulatory Care Unit until the time of surgery. When you are taken to the Operating Room, they are requested to wait in the waiting room until you return from surgery to the Unit. After you return to the Unit, this person may stay with you until you are discharged. We ask that no more than one person come you your bedside.

Families are encouraged to choose only one or two designated persons to wait in the waiting room. A clergy member may also be present. Do not bring children. If your family exceeds two persons, alternate between the waiting area and the bedside.

Hospital Instructions for Patients

  • Leave all jewelry, money, and other valuables at home or with your family. Wear comfortable clothing which will be easy to take off and put on.
  • Do not wear any eye or facial make-up, fingernail or toenail polish.
  • If you wear dentures, partial plate, contact lenses, or any other prosthesis, you will probably be asked to remove them before surgery.
  • If you wish to bring with any personal care items (such as toothbrush, comb, toiletries, etc.) feel free to do so.
  • Since there is sometimes a need for longer post-operative observation, please be prepared for the possibility that it may be necessary to admit you to the Hospital or keep you longer than expected in the Ambulatory Care Unit.
  • If you develop a fever, cold, rash, or any other acute illness prior to your surgery, CALL YOUR PHYSICIAN.
  • If you choose to cancel your surgery and cannot reach your surgeon, contact the Hospital's Admission Office at 814-643-8404.

When You are Ready to Leave the Hospital

When the anesthesiologist is certain you are ready to go home, the Ambulatory Care Unit will discharge you by wheelchair to the person who has accompanied you. Upon leaving, you will receive follow up instructions to assist in your recovery.

Call your doctor if you experience any problems upon returning home after surgery and be sure to have a responsible person stay with you at home overnight on the day of your surgery.

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