Our child life specialists are here to help minimize the stress and anxiety of hospitalization and to strengthen the coping skills of you, your child and other family members, both before and after surgical treatment.
The Children’s Surgery Center has a child life specialist staffed solely to help your child throughout pre-op and then during recovery. A child life specialist may use medical play with stuffed animals and actual medical equipment to explain the procedures and surgery that the child is about to undergo. This helps to provide understanding, reassurance and emotional support to the child as well as to the family.
The child life specialist may also visit with siblings or other family members to help them understand the hospital environment and ease the stress of being in an unfamiliar environment. Hospitalization and all that it entails can be stressful on your child as well as the entire family.
Our hospital coloring and activity book is designed to help ease your child’s hospital experience and may be helpful to all family members.
Our facility dogs are expertly trained to help comfort and normalize the experience of children and teens during post-surgical recovery and hospitalization, if required. The facility dogs at UC Davis Children’s Hospital were trained and provided free of charge to the child life specialist handlers from Canine Companions for Independence. Zeebee is our facility dog for the Children’s Surgery Center.
When you arrive, go to the reception area. You will meet with administrative staff who will help you begin the check-in process.
You will need to bring:
Your child will receive the necessary wristbands: two for identification and security and one for allergies, if necessary.
After you’ve checked in, you and your child can sit in the large waiting room. The waiting room has plenty of activities, books and toys, and even an electronic game table, to occupy and distract your child, while allowing you to all sit and spend some time together before the procedure.
The waiting room will also be available for you while your child is undergoing surgery. When it’s time, a registered nurse or child life specialist will find you in the waiting room and take both of you to a pre-op room.
When it’s time to get ready for surgery, you and your child will meet a number of specialists in your room who will help prepare both of you in different ways.
The pre-op nurse will check your child’s vital signs (blood pressure, temperature, respiration rate, pulse, etc.), do a physical assessment and make the proper notations on the chart.
A child life specialist will help prepare your child with procedural play exercises, to help him or her understand what will happen and make the process as positive as possible.
The pediatric anesthesiologist will discuss the anesthesia process with you and your child including what anesthesia will do, how it will be administered, and how long your child may be affected by it after the treatment. You’ll discuss the possible need for medication, or “happy juice,” to help your child to relax before the anesthesia is administered. The anesthesiologist will accompany your child into the operating room for the duration of their treatment.
The operating room nurse will introduce himself or herself and confirm surgery.
The surgeon will also introduce himself or herself and answer any questions you have about the surgery.
You can accompany your child as far as the entrance to the operating room hallway. You can then return to the waiting room. Plan to stay for the duration; bring a book, music or a movie to pass the time.
If you need food or coffee, we recommend getting some right after your child has gone into the operating room, so that you are available when the surgeon comes out to discuss how your child’s surgery went.
After the surgery, you can meet your child in the recovery room. Here, your child will be regularly examined by the nursing staff and physicians to ensure that your child is comfortable and that recovery is continuing as it should. Your child will remain in the recovery room until they are recovered from the anesthesia and discharged to go home; if admission to the hospital is required, your child will go to a regular hospital bed when it is available.
If an overnight admission to the hospital is necessary, a parent or guardian is encouraged to stay overnight. Each room is equipped with a chair that will turn into a bed for an overnight stay. If you are planning to stay with your child overnight, you should bring appropriate overnight supplies, such as extra clothing and a toothbrush and toothpaste.
Before leaving the Children’s Surgery Center, your child will be examined by an anesthesiologist. If your child is being discharged from the recovery room, you will be provided with all the information you need, such as discharge instructions and contact phone numbers for both day and overnight, for a continued, safe recuperation at home.
If your child is especially anxious and would benefit from a pre-operative virtual tour led by a certified child life specialist, please feel free to reach out to one of our Children’s Surgery Center child life specialists.
For referring physicians from other facilities, please call our patient referrals and transfer phone number for assistance with pediatric surgical services.
We also provide pediatric telehealth consultations for physicians caring for children throughout Northern California who may need the specialized surgical services offered by the Children’s Surgery Center.
4301 X Street
Sacramento, CA 95817
The Children’s Surgery Center is located within UC Davis Children’s Hospital.View map and directions
To see one of our specialists, a referral is required from your child’s primary care physician.