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Patient Instructions

Day surgery is when you come to the hospital for your surgery or procedure and you go home after surgery onthe same day.

  • There are some restrictions as to what you can eat or drink the night before and on the day of your operation. It is important that you follow these instructions. If you do not stop eating and drinking as instructed, your surgery may be postponed.
  • Please note that a responsible adult must accompany you home, either by driving you or going with you in a taxi.
  • Make arrangements to have a responsible adult stay with you for the first 24 hours after surgery.

Preparation at Home

The following instructions apply to all patients having surgery with a local, regional or general anesthetic.


  • Do not have any solid food, milk, milk products or unstrained juices after midnight (this includes gum and candy).
  • You may have either clear fluids up to 4 hours before your surgery (Clear fluids include water, apple juice, pop, black tea or coffee.) or Nothing by mouth after midnight. Follow the instructions you are given.


  • If you take aspirin or prescription anticoagulants (blood thinners), speak with your surgeon 2 weeks before your surgery or follow the directions of the consulting doctor in the Pre-Admission Clinic.
  • Take regular medications (other than diabetic medications) with a sip of water unless otherwise directed.
  • If you take insulin or diabetes pills, your surgeon or doctor in the Pre-Admission Clinic will tell you whether or not to take it the day of surgery. It is important to bring your medications with you. If you have any questions about medications, contact your surgeon.

Skin Preparation:

  • Please bathe or shower and shampoo your hair the evening before or morning of your admission to hospital. You will be told if you need to do any special skin preparation.
  • You will need to remove all make-up before surgery. If you wear make-up to the hospital, please bring a cleanser to remove it. Nail polish does not need to be removed.
  • You must remove eyeglasses, contact lenses, wigs, false eyelashes and jewellery before surgery. You may also be asked to remove your denture(s) or partial plate(s). Please bring the appropriate containers for these articles.

General Instructions Before Surgery

  • If you need Home Care after surgery, please tell your doctor or nurse.
  • Do not smoke for 24 hours.
  • Do not drink alcohol for 24 hours.
  • If you have a fever, cold, flu symptoms or infection, call your surgeon or family doctor.

What To Bring to the Hospital

  • Alberta Health card and Blue Cross or other insurance card
  • Hospital card
  • Proof of medical coverage (out-of-province residents only)
  • Information handouts you have received about your condition or surgery
  • Personal care items:
    • hearing aids and eyeglasses
    • walking aids (cane, walker, crutches braces, splints, slings comfortable clothing)
  • Items requested by your surgeon (bra, girdle, brace, etc.)
  • A book or magazine to help pass the time (after your admission and before your surgery, there will be a waiting period)

What Not To Bring

  • anything of value (jewelry, credit cards)
  • more than $20 cash
  • cellular telephones
  • electrical appliances
  • computers

The hospital will not be responsible for lost items.

If you need an interpreter, please call 944-0202 to arrange for a Certified Health Care Interpreter at no cost. You may bring a family member or friend who speaks the same language as you; however, with health situations, it is important that a certified Health Care Interpreter be used to interpret.

If you are receiving services outside of Calgary, Certified Health Care Interpretation is available by telephone. Please ask your health care provider to call 944-0202 for contact information or to call Language Line directly.

Note: If you are under the age of 18, you must bring a parent or legal guardian.

Arrival At The Hospital

You must arrive at the hospital no later than the time you are given by the Day Surgery nurse.

Discharge From The Hospital

Before discharge, your nurse will give you instructions so you will be able to care for yourself at home. These will include information on medication, diet, activity, wound care, and when to contact your doctor. Please speak with your nurse if you have any questions or concerns.

Following a General Anesthetic

It takes 24 hours for the full effects of anesthetic drugs to wear off. A responsible adult must accompany you home, either by driving you or going with you in a taxi.

Please follow these instructions after you go home:

  • You should have a responsible adult stay with you for the first 24 hours. If you have children at home, arrange to have help with child care. Do not be responsible for small children for 24 hours.
  • You may feel a little sleepy when you get home. Rest quietly for the rest of the day.
  • If you feel dizzy, lie flat until the dizziness is gone.
  • Drink plenty of clear fluids such as juice, water or gingerale for the first 4 to 6 hours. Following that, you can have light meals. You may wish to start with foods such as soup, ice cream, toast, pudding, custard and yogurt.
  • Do not drink alcohol for 24 hours.
  • Do not operate any motor vehicle, boat, machinery, or power tools for 24 hours.
  • Be careful if you are cooking or pouring hot liquids.
  • Do not sign or enter into any legal contracts for 24 hours.

Following a Local Anesthetic or Sedation

Please follow these instructions:

  • Speak with medical staff to find out how long you should wait before driving, operating a boat, machinery or power tools, after having a local anesthetic or sedation.
  • If you have children at home, arrange to have help with child care.
  • You are advised not to be responsible for small children for 24 hours. You must have someone accompany you home. You cannot go home in a taxi.

If you have any problems or questions after your return home from day surgery, contact your surgeon or family doctor. If you are unable to reach a doctor, go to a hospital Emergency Department.