Pre-surgical planning

surgeryPre-surgical planning is essential for a smooth recovery. Here are tips to help you prepare:

  • Advance Care Directive (ACD): An ACD is a legal document that gives instructions about your future medical care in the event you cannot communicate your own decision.
    View Advance Health Care Directive Form »
  • Pay all your bills, mortgage and other financial obligations: Make sure you cover these in the event you need to be in the hospital longer than initially planned.
  • Disability insurance: Check with your employer about using any paid disability benefit you may have. It usually takes about a week to process a claim. UC Davis Health has a Disability Coordinator's Unit to assist patients with their California State Disability Insurance (SDI) claim.
    More information on disability »
  • Home care: Make arrangements for someone to care for your children, pets and plants, bring in your mail and take your garbage to the curb while you are hospitalized.
  • Read: Your physician or nurse will have provided surgical handouts; be sure to read how to prepare yourself for surgery and post-surgical home care.
  • Personal care: You may need someone to help you with going up and down stairs, dressing, grooming and bathing.
    For in-home help options »
  • Chore help: Housekeeping, shopping, cooking, lifting anything over 10 pounds, and laundry help is often needed for at least 2 weeks following a surgical procedure. Many patients advise stocking the freezer with easy-to-heat meals before surgery.
    For in-home help options »

Post-surgical needs

  • For your safety: Do not drive, travel alone, operate machinery, drink alcohol, sign legal papers, make important life decisions or be responsible for the care of another person. Medication given during and after your operation will impair your abilities. Consult your physician for specific limitations following your care.
  • Transportation: You will need someone to drive you home from the hospital and to post-surgical appointments. Depending on your surgery, you may also need help with transportation over the next few weeks.
  • Loose comfortable clothing: The right clothes can help make coming home from the hospital more comfortable. Be sure to pack something that will accommodate your needs at discharge. Your treatment team will advise you if there are any special garments you may need.
  • Distractions: Having hobbies that you can use to entertain yourself both in the hospital and while recuperating can help pass time. Quiet activities that you can do while hospitalized are encouraged.