ARTICLES / General /Tips to
Help Seniors and Their Caregivers... /
Lastly, if you may be depressed, please see a
psychiatrist and seek treatment prior to surgery.
This is extremely important because depression has
been tied to higher mortality rates in surgical
patients. The psychiatrist, in consultation with
other members of the surgical team, may also
recommend minimizing the use of sedatives,
especially long-acting drugs such as
2. Donít be afraid to ask questions
about the procedure
Having a surgical procedure can bring up a lot of
questions, and it is important to bring that list of
questions to your preoperative appointments in order
to ensure you are as educated and confident as
possible. Important questions to ask include:
- Can you tell me more about the procedure?
- Where will the surgery be conducted?
- What do I need to do before the procedure?
- At what point in the procedure will
anesthesia be administered? What type of
anesthesia will I receive?
- Who will be my anesthesia provider?
- When can I speak with my anesthesiologist?
- As a senior citizen, are there any specific
complications associated with anesthesia and
this procedure that I should be aware of?
- How long will the entire surgery take?
- Will the anesthesia make me nauseous after
- Will I be in pain when I wake up from the
- When will I be discharged from the
- When will I be completely healed?
3. Make sure to prepare for your
preoperative conversation with your physician
Once youíve made the decision to undergo a surgical
procedure, your physician will schedule a
preoperative meeting to make sure the entire
procedure is both as safe and as comfortable for you
as possible. You will likely discuss the following
with your physician at that time:
- Medical history, including past experiences
- Any known allergies
- Dietary restrictions you will need to be
aware of leading up to the procedure
- Lab tests and diagnostic studies you will
undergo in preparation for surgery
- Type of anesthesia that will be administered
during the procedure
- Potential complications associated with the
procedure Ė both physical and mental
- Status of family and friend support network
leading up to, during and after surgery
- Any concerns or anxieties you might have
about the procedure
4. Provide your physician with a
comprehensive list of medications and substances you
To help identify those substances that may affect
your anesthesia and surgery, it is very important
that you provide your physician with a complete list
of all medications, including prescription,
over-the-counter or natural. Specifically, sleeping
pills, anxiety medications and alcohol withdrawal
have been shown to increase the risk of
postoperative complications in the elderly, such as
delirium. In order to be prepared, fill out, print
and carry a medication record with you when you
visit your physician. The form will help you keep
track of your personal medical history,
prescriptions, allergies, emergency contacts and the
information of your primary and secondary