Before you come into hospital

When the decision has been made to have surgery you will be given an appointment to visit the pre-assessment clinic where you will be asked about your general health and fitness and have various assessments in preparation for your operation.

You will be given advice on issues such as medication. You will also have blood taken and may have a tracing of your heart (ECG).

The Colorectal Nurse or Nurse Specialist will endeavour to speak to you before your operation; this is likely to be at your pre-assessment appointment, however on occasion we may contact you by phone or speak to you when you are admitted to the ward which is usually on the day of your surgery.

At the time of pre-assessment you will be asked about your plans for discharge from hospital. If you are concerned that there may be problems it is important that you discuss this with the nurse. Having an operation of this sort can be both physically and emotionally stressful. Pre operative education and information can help to reduce anxiety.

    Important points to consider before your bowel operation include:

    • Eating and drinking well - your body will need energy for repair, therefore it is important that you are as well-nourished and well hydrated as possible; it will assist in the healing of your wound and will improve your general recovery.

    You will also be given some Pre-Op sugary carbohydrate drinks that will help with your recovery. They are specially formulated to help your body cope with the stress of surgery. They can also make you feel better after your surgery. There will be four Pre-Op drinks. Please drink three Pre-Op drinks the evening before your operation and the remaining one Pre-Op drink before you become nil by mouth either in the morning or the afternoon depending on your individual nil by mouth instructions. Alternatively, you may drink two Pre-Op drinks the evening before surgery and two Pre-Op drinks before you become nil by mouth either in the morning or the afternoon depending on your individual nil by mouth instructions. Diabetic patients may not be given these drinks or given a reduced amount as they can make blood sugars rise too much. You will receive instructions in your admission letter regarding your dietary intake and your nil by mouth time. Sometimes if you require bowel preparation your oral intake instructions for the day before your surgery may change but you will be informed at your preadmission assessment by the Colorectal Nurse or Nurse Specialist if this is the case.

      Information will be given to you regarding any bowel preparation that may be required.

      • Exercise - being physically active before your operation will help your recovery aim for 30 minutes of exercise five times a week
      • Prevention of post operative chest infection - It is important to familiarize yourself with deep breathing exercises before you come into hospital so that you can start them straight after surgery. Normal breathing relies on the contraction of various muscles. Anaesthetics and pain relieving medications can affect the way the muscles work which may result in shallow breaths. This could lead to a chest infection. Therefore it is very important that you can cough effectively and move around in and out of bed comfortably. Do not lie flat in bed as this increases your risk of chest infection, your position in bed should be head up at least at a 30 degree angle or more. You will be given an Incentive Spirometer before you come into hospital and shown how to use it. Please bring it with you on admission. Research shows good oral hygiene helps to reduce the risk of chest infection; please remember to bring in your toothbrush, toothpaste and a good mouthwash, if possible containing Chlorhexidine.