teddy bear surgery pre-surgery tour child life

Is your child about to have surgery? Take a pre-surgery tour

Whether you’re 5 or 15, going for surgery can be scary. Taking a pre-surgery tour beforehand can make a surgery less frightening for your child.

If your child has a scheduled surgery you can request a tour from one of our certified child life specialists. A child life specialist helps children and families understand what to expect before, during and after surgery through medical play and a tour.

We recently accompanied child life specialist Amy Fregonese on a pre-surgery tour.

Check In

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Child life specialist Amy Fregonese meets us in the foyer of the surgery tower.

Immediately, Amy sizes up our visitor to see what approach to take. Recognizing that the child is the primary audience of this experience is important to making both the child and parent comfortable.

The pre-surgery tour allows a child and family to walk through the timeline of the surgery day. From check in and waiting room, to pre-op room through to recovery room. Both child and parent know where the other will be at any given moment during the procedure.


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Amy engages our guest in medical play with equipment that looks familiar – a slightly fancier thermometer than the one at home, but the scales look just like the scales at the pediatrician’s office.

Pre-op room

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This is where our patient will be prepared for surgery. The equipment and the procedures are not as familiar as during our earlier stop for vitals. Amy gently introduces new pieces of equipment and procedures with medical play, while answering a multitude of questions from her 5-year-old guest.

It is important for the child to feel comfortable asking questions; the patient may have some very specific concerns that have not occurred to the parents or caregivers. Child life specialists have extensive experience explaining difficult, often scary ideas to children of all ages.

Operating Room

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Using the KidSpeak app you can look around a room, check out a piece of equipment, or translate a piece of medical speak into kid friendly terms, and more!We can’t visit the actual operating room. Using our KidSpeak app Amy is able to show parents and the child what will happen in the OR. Download the free app in the Apple app store here, or in the Android app store here.

Recovery Room

Recovery room pre surgery tour

A quick visit to the recovery room and we see where our patient will come around following surgery, how parents will be called back to the recovery room and what we can expect when we return.

Our young guest leaves less anxious about his upcoming surgery, with a mask to show off to his sister, and excited to pick out the ‘flavor’ of his anesthesia mask.

If your child has an upcoming surgery, make sure to schedule a pre-surgery tour with our child life specialists.

Worried about when to talk to your child and what to say? Check out this post.