Before surgery checklist

There is a lot you can do before surgery to have the best possible outcome. Your doctor may provide instructions beyond what’s listed here, so please follow their instructions closely. And please don’t be shy about asking questions!  

Home checklist 

  • Arrange for help with housework, meals and medication. Do you need someone to drive and run errands? Mow the lawn? Walk the dog? Arrange for someone to drive you home
  • Do your shopping. Have healthy foods, drinks and other household items ready when you get home. Do your banking. Pay your bills
  • Fill your car’s gas tank. Get your car ready so your driver can transport you
  • Do the laundry. To lower the risk of infection, put clean linens on the bed and clean towels in the bathroom before you leave the hospital
  • Pack your bag
  • Put things within easy reach. Move the things you use most often to a place you can reach without having to bend or reach up. If you live in a multistory home, bring the items you use most often to the main floor

Surgery checklist 

  • Fax any disability forms needed
  • Preregister for your procedure. Once your procedure is scheduled, you’ll need to preregister at least 24 hours before your surgery. Calling 800.552.8802 to preregister between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., Monday through Friday
  • Explore financial assistance options if needed. Learn more about financial assistance options
  • Get a return to work note if your employer requires one. To get a note, notify your surgeon’s office
  • Complete your preoperative medical health physical and presurgical screening appointment. Someone may call you to schedule your preoperative appointment. These appointments can take place in person, via telehealth or through a phone call
  • For this appointment, please make sure you have the following information handy:  
    • A list of your medications, allergies and any prior surgeries  
    • Any instructions previously given to you by your surgeon 
    • The make and model number for any devices implanted in your body 

Hospital bag checklist

  • Toothbrush, deodorant, dentures, brush or comb 
  • Hearing aids and eyeglasses 
  • Socks and undergarments 
  • Nonskid slippers or easy-to-slip-on tennis shoes 
  • Something to do, like a tablet, Kindle, books, magazines or crossword puzzles 
  • Loose, comfortable active clothing. (You will be walking frequently following your surgery) 
  • A CPAP machine if you use one at home 
  • Phone and other electronics chargers 
  • Any paperwork necessary, including: 
    • The perioperative guide given to you 
    • Your insurance information and identification 
    • A list of allergies and medications 
    • A copy of your Advanced Health Care Directive or Durable Power of Attorney if you have one 

Helpful reminders 

  • Quit smoking. Smoking increases your risk for infection after surgery. If you’d like help quitting, there are some medications your doctor can prescribe. Please speak to them, they’re happy to help 
  • Don’t drink alcohol 24 hours before surgery. Alcohol dehydrates you, and can affect how you heal 
  • Walk at least 30 minutes three to four times per week to build up your strength. The more active you are going into surgery, the more likely you are to retain a higher level of function after surgery 
  • Eat a healthy protein-rich diet to support healing. Eat at least three times a day – do not skip meals. Drink plenty of fluid each day to stay hydrated. Being malnourished can lead to an increase in complications 
  • Brush your teeth twice a day and rinse with a non-alcohol mouthwash like ACT, Listerine Zero, Oral B, Colgate Peroxyl or Crest 3D to help prevent pneumonia 
  • Practice deep breathing exercises twice a day to keep your lungs clean and help prevent pneumonia 
  • Stop taking some medications or herbal products a week or two before surgery. Be open with your health care team about what you’re taking. They can help you decide which ones to stop or continue 
  • Watch the educational videos sent to you via email or through the One Chart | Patient portal 
  • Notify your surgery if you develop cold symptoms, a heavy cough, chest congestions, irregular heart-beat, vomiting, severe diarrhea, fever, rash or if your physical condition changes between the time you were scheduled for surgery and the date of your surgery. Your surgeon will determine if your surgery needs to be rescheduled

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