What To Expect Before, During & After Surgery

  Convenience, safety and compassion

Be Prepared for Your Surgery at Anna Jaques Hospital

When you’re told you need surgery, we understand it can be stressful. At Anna Jaques Hospital, we try to keep your stress to a minimum. We address your individual concerns and needs. You can depend on us to keep you informed and to make your experience as easy and comfortable as possible for your family.

If you need emergency surgery our surgical care teams are available 24/7 to provide the procedures and critical care you need.

Important Phone Numbers

Anna Jaques Hospital: 978-463-1000 
Registration (Access Department): 978-834-8210 
Pre-Admission Testing: 978-463-1107
Case Management: 978-463-1165

Surgery Consultation

At Anna Jaques, we schedule most surgeries in advance. You meet with your doctor and members of the surgical care team to plan your surgery.

At a surgical consultation, your doctor:

  • Reviews your medical history.
  • Discusses your exam results.
  • Presents your options for surgery or non-surgical alternatives.

We take the time to explain your procedure and answer your questions. Your surgery may be an outpatient procedure. This means you return home the same day. If your surgery is an inpatient procedure, you’ll spend at least one night in the hospital.

Nearly every patient who stays overnight at Anna Jaques stays in a private, single room for enhanced comfort, privacy and healing.

Together, we plan for a successful recovery. Our team will talk to you about your home environment and available support services. We help you plan for your return home, such as transportation since you can’t drive yourself home after surgery. If needed, we connect you with home health resources.


When your surgery has been scheduled, please pre-register by calling our Access Department at 978-834-8210. Our office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. It is important you call at least two days before your scheduled surgery.

Pre-Admission Appointment & Testing 

We help you get everything in place before you arrive at the hospital. When you come for pre-admission testing, we collect information such as:

  • Advance directive, guardianship or health care proxy paperwork
  • Insurance cards
  • Valid ID

Your surgeon’s office contacts us to schedule your surgery. We help you schedule these or other tests you may need:

About a week before your scheduled surgery, you’ll receive a call from someone on your surgical team. During this call, we get other necessary details from you:

  • Allergies
  • Medications you take
  • Your overall health, including recent changes

We also provide instructions to help you get ready for your surgery. This includes when you should stop eating and drinking before your procedure. It’s important that you follow these instructions carefully. They’re intended for your safety. Not following them may cause a delay in your surgery.

The day before your surgery, we call to confirm your surgery time. We tell you when to arrive at the hospital.

Please call us at 978-463-1107 if you have any questions about your surgery.

Anesthesia and Your Safety

We gather information about your health and the medications you take to ensure your safety if you need anesthesia during your procedure.

Anesthesia ensures you are pain-free during your procedure. Your anesthesiologist also monitors other aspect of your health:

  • Blood pressure
  • Breathing
  • Heart rate and rhythm
  • Oxygen level

Surgery and anesthesia affect your entire body. Be sure to include a list of any dietary supplements you take along with all medications. For most patients, we do a phone interview. An anesthesiologist performs a final assessment on the day of your surgery.

You may need an in-person anesthesia review before surgery if you:

  • Are having major surgery.
  • Have complex medical issues.
  • Have experienced anesthesia reactions in the past.

Make sure your surgical team knows your health concerns before we give you anesthesia. This lets your care team choose the best and safest type of anesthesia for you.

The Night Before Your Surgery

Follow your doctor’s instructions, which may include:

  • Not eating and drinking after midnight.
  • Taking or avoiding your daily medications.
  • Washing with the anti-microbial soap Hibiclens to help prevent infection.

Learn more about using Hibiclens from our Hibiclens patient booklet.

If you will be staying at the hospital after surgery, bring:

  • A list of mediations and any allergies.
  • Comfortable clothes, personal items and toiletries.
  • Copies of your advance directive, health care proxy or living will.
  • Dentures, eyeglasses and hearing aids.
  • Your insurance card and personal ID.

If you are having an outpatient procedure, arrange for someone to drive you home. If you need transportation, we can coordinate a ride for you. 

Your Arrival for Surgery

On the day of surgery:

  • Arrive at the instructed time.
  • Consider bringing a book or other reading material in case of a delay.
  • Do not wear deodorant, makeup, nail polish, perfume or skin lotion.
  • If your procedure is outpatient, wear loose comfortable clothing that is easy to put on and remove.
  • Leave all valuables and jewelry at home. 

Free valet parking is available from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday at the covered walkway. You also may park in the hospital’s main parking lot.

Enter through the Pre-Op Testing and Surgical Services entrance to the left of the covered walkway. For more information about where to check in and park, please review our Patients & Visitors guide.

You also can learn more about your stay at the hospital.

Just Before Surgery

After checking into the hospital, you go to our pre-op waiting area. A nurse helps you prepare for your procedure. This takes about 30 minutes.

You will:

  • Change into a hospital gown.
  • Confirm personal information.
  • Meet with your surgical team, confirm your treatment plan and ask questions.
  • Talk with your anesthesiologist, who matches your medical condition with the most appropriate anesthesia.

Your nurse will:

  • Assess your health.
  • Prepare any medicines you need.
  • Start your IV.

You must remove any dentures, eyeglasses, jewelry, prostheses and wigs. We provide a locker for your belongings. Anna Jaques Hospital is not responsible for lost or stolen items.

A nurse takes you to the operating room. Your anesthesiologist uses medicine to put you to sleep before your procedure.

If you have questions or concerns — at any time — please tell your anesthesiologist, nurse or surgeon.

During Surgery

When you are in surgery, your family or support person can wait in the main lobby. If they plan to remain on the Anna Jaques campus, we will give them a pager. We use the pager to notify them when you are out of surgery.

We also use a surgical tracker system. This allows your family or support person to follow your progress through surgery and recovery. We instruct them on how to use the tracker.

If you are having an outpatient procedure, we limit visitors to one family member or support person per patient. Children are not allowed.

Please make sure we have your support person’s contact information. We will contact them about your care and recovery.

Recovery After Surgery

You move to our recovery room after surgery. Nurses who specialize in caring for people after anesthesia monitor your vital signs and oxygen levels.

Our nurses closely monitor you to manage your pain control and psychological needs. The type of procedure, the method of anesthesia and your own body’s response determines the length of time you need to stay in recovery. This can range from one to several hours.

During the recovery period: 

  • You receive IV fluids until you can take fluids by mouth.
  • Nurses continue to monitor your blood pressure, breathing and heart rate.
  • We invite your family member or support person in to see you once you are alert.
  • Nurses evaluate your pain level and provide treatment to keep you as comfortable as possible.
  • When you are fully awake and your vital signs return to normal, your nurse starts to prepare you for discharge or hospital admission.

We encourage you to move around as soon as you can. This helps:

  • Avoid breathing and lung conditions.
  • Prevent blood clots.
  • Reduce the length of your hospital stay. 
Details for Inpatients

If you’re staying overnight in the hospital, you move to an inpatient unit.

Before you are transferred to your room, your recovery room nurse meets with the unit nurse. They discuss your surgery, progress and doctor’s orders. Your surgeon visits you each day you’re in the hospital.

Details for Outpatients

If you’re going home the same day as your surgery, you move to the Surgical Day Care unit to get ready for discharge.

You may not leave the hospital without an adult to accompany you. Someone must drive you home or accompany you on public transportation.

Going Home

When you’re ready to be discharged, we give you verbal and written instructions on how to care for yourself at home. This includes how to take your medicines, your personalized rehabilitation plan and wound care.

Your doctor will decide when you are ready to leave. Your nurse and case manager create a care plan for your post-surgery needs. We help you make a smooth transition from the hospital to home or to an extended care facility.

On the day of your discharge:

  • We contact the person who will drive you home when you are ready.
  • A nurse or staff member escorts you to the Emergency Department entrance where your driver should meet you.

Once you return home:

  • Follow your discharge instructions about activity level, diet, pain management and side effects to ensure a quick and smooth recovery.
  • If your doctor prescribes pain medication, it’s important that you don’t drink alcohol or drive.
  • It’s best to have someone stay with you to help you at home.
  • Keep all follow-up appointments with your doctor.
  • You should avoid driving for 24 hours after having anesthesia.

Your recovery is just as important as your surgery. Your care team offers help as you heal.

If you have questions about your discharge instructions, call your surgeon’s office. If you have concerns about post-discharge care, call your case manager at 978-463-1165.

Frequently Asked Questions About Surgery

Why do I need to avoid food and drink after midnight the night before my surgery?

When you get anesthesia, it’s more difficult for your body to cough and swallow. This increases the risk of inhaling stomach content, which can cause a lung infection. When you don’t eat or drink for at least eight hours, your stomach remains empty. This reduces your risk of inhalation and infection.

Should I take my morning medications before arriving at the hospital?

Your surgeon and/or nurse tells you what medicines to take or avoid on the day of surgery. If you take any medicines, please take them with only a small sip of water.

Why do people ask me the same questions multiple times during my preparation for surgery?

Your safety is important to us. We repeat some questions or confirm details multiple times to ensure your safety before, during and after surgery. These questions include allergy information, your date of birth, your name and the side and site of surgery. We repeatedly ask these questions to verify vital information. This is our way to ensure the highest quality of safety for our patients. 

What should I expect after waking up from anesthesia?

You will spend some time in the recovery room. Our nurses monitor you for any symptoms related to surgery and anesthesia. You will feel quite drowsy. We give you medicines for pain and nausea to improve your comfort.

If you have same-day surgery, a responsible adult must drive you home. Your doctor gives you a prescription for pain medication. Your recovery room nurse will review your discharge instructions with you and a family member. Your nurse calls you at home the next day to see how you’re doing.

Will I have a private room during my hospital stay?

Nearly every patient who stays overnight at Anna Jaques Hospital enjoys a private room. We believe this provides enhanced comfort, healing and privacy.

Private rooms give you and your family a high level of quality and safety. Private rooms help:

  • Improve infection control throughout the unit.
  • Provide patients with a positive environment for healing.
  • Provide privacy for medical discussions and treatments.
  • Reduce noise around the patient.

Each sun-filled, private patient room features a:

  • Closet
  • Flat screen TV
  • Private bathroom with shower
  • Rooming-in furniture for a family member or support person to spend the night

Every room is equipped with a computer station nurses and doctors can use to access electronic medical records at the bedside. This technology lets your care team match the bar code on your wrist band to your medication, improving your safety.  Vital sign technology lets your nurse download data directly to your medical record, which helps reduce errors.


Pre-Admission Testing

Services & Specialties

Learn about the services and specialties that may be part of your care and recovery.

We’re Here To Help 

To speak with a member of our registration team, please call us.