Skip Navigation


Preparing for Surgery at Sibley Memorial Hospital

Learn more about how to prepare for surgery and what to expect after your procedure at Sibley Memorial Hospital.

In This Section:

Before Your Surgery

Before the day of your procedure, you should:

nurse wheeling patient
  1. Complete Preregistration and Pre-Certification
    • Call 202-537-4190 to begin the process.
    • All patients need to be in contact with the Admissions Department to pre-register. Admissions will need to verify your coverage or receive pre-certification for hospital services from your insurance company. Your surgeon’s office will coordinate with your insurance provider to obtain certification.
    • Financial assistance is available; counselors can assist with self pay, Medicaid, uninsured and underinsured patients. For assistance, call 202-537-4160 or 202-537-4161.
  2. Call the Pre-surgical Testing Center (PSTC) for an interview.
    • All patients having surgery at Sibley Memorial Hospital must have a telephone interview with a Registered Nurse from PSTC by calling 202-537-4437.
    • The purpose of this interview is to obtain your medical and surgical history and a current list of medications and dosages. An anesthesiologist will review this information prior to your surgery. The nurse will also review your pre-surgical instructions and answer any questions that you may have.
    • All patients having anesthesia for surgery must have their medical and surgical history forms and physical exam done within 30 days of their surgery date. Sibley Memorial Hospital provides this service for no additional charge; schedule an appointment at 202-537-4955.
    • Your surgeon may order additional preoperative testing such as labs, EKGs, or chest X-rays. You can schedule these with your regular doctor, or make an appointment to have everything done at PSTC by calling 202-537-4955.
    • If having testing performed at PSTC, remember to bring the preoperative orders given to you by your surgeon to the appointment.
    • If you have these tests done with your regular doctor, please ask them to fax the results to Sibley Memorial Hospital at 202-364-7639.
    • If your surgeon orders a lab test called a "Type and Screen" or a "Type and Cross Match", these tests must be done at Sibley Memorial Hospital's PSTC within 7 days of your surgery date. They cannot be drawn at your doctors office or an independent lab.
    • Please schedule the nursing interview and any needed pre-surgical tests as early as possible to allow the Anesthesia Department to review your information.
  3. If you have a pacemaker and/or defibrillator, complete the Pacemaker/ICD Preoperative Information Sheet and take it with you to your cardiologist appointment.
  4. Review your medications, vitamins, and supplements with your doctor.
    • Some medications, supplements and vitamins may need to be stopped up to 2 weeks prior to your surgery.
    • Please clarify with your surgeon when you should stop blood thinners, aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as Motrin, Advil, Ibuprofen and Naprosyn.
    • If you are a diabetic, you will need to consult with your physician on how to adjust your medications prior to surgery.
    • Swallow pills you are required to take the morning of surgery with only sips of water.
  5. Arrange for transportation for the day of surgery
    • All patients receiving anesthesia will need to arrange for a ride home after surgery. You must arrange for a responsible adult to take you home. It cannot be a taxi driver, but you may take a taxi with a responsible adult accompanying you.
    • We also recommend that you arrange for an adult to stay with you for at least 24 hours after surgery.
    • If you are unable to arrange for a ride on your own, you may schedule a ride from Potomac Home Support. There is a fee for this service. Contact Potomac Home Support at 301-896-6990 to make arrangements.
  6. Review your preoperative instructions
    • As a general rule, do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before or the day of your surgery. You may not have water, candy or gum. This helps reduce the chance of vomiting and/or inhaling items into your lungs during your surgery.
    • Always follow the instructions provided to you by your surgeon.
    • We recommend all patients that are having surgery involving an incision through the skin take 3 showers with a surgical scrub called Hibiclens (chlorhexidine gluconate). Download the Preoperative Bathing Instructions guide for more information.
    • Joint replacement surgeries should follow the cleansing process as instructed by the orthopaedic nurse navigator. If you have questions, please call her at 202-537-4144.
  7. If you have an Advanced Directive, Living Will, or Power of Attorney document, please bring it with you to the hospital.

On the Day of Surgery

You will be notified by your surgeon’s office regarding what time that you will need to arrive at Sibley Memorial Hospital on the day of your surgery.

Sometimes you may have additional testing prior to surgery that will require patients you to arrive at an earlier time.

As a general rule, you will need to arrive 2 hours prior to your surgery. This is because you need enough time to register, change into your hospital gown, obtain vital signs, start an IV, complete all surgical permits, and have interviews with your RN’s and anesthesiologist.

If you are having surgery in the Main Hospital:

Go to the Admissions Desk located in the Main lobby of the hospital.

  • The Admissions Desk in the Main hospital opens at 5:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.
  • On Saturday the Admissions Desk opens at 6 a.m.

If you are having surgery in the Sibley Ambulatory Surgery Center (SASC):

Go to the Admissions Desk located on the ground floor of the Medical Office Building. This building is located right next to the parking garage.

  • The SASC admissions desk is open at 6 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Day of Surgery Checklist

  • Bring a valid photo ID and your insurance card.
  • Bring any forms or X-rays requested by your physician.
  • If you have an advanced directive, living will, or power of attorney, bring a copy with you to the hospital.
  • Leave all valuables at home, including cash and credit cards, unless advanced payment is required.
  • Remove all jewelry and body piercings.
  • Wear loose and comfortable clothing.
  • Bring a case for your dentures, hearing aids, glasses, or contacts.
  • Bring information regarding any existing implant.
  • Bring a complete list of your medications, vitamins and herbal supplements. Include your dosages and the most recent time taken.
  • If you use inhalers for respiratory disease, please bring your them with you to the hospital.
  • If you have sleep apnea and use a CPAP machine, please bring it with you to the hospital.
  • If you are having anesthesia, do not eat or drink anything, including water, chewing gum, or breath mints.
  • Take only medications your physician has instructed, with a small sip of water.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Arrive on time.
Download the Checklist PDF

After Surgery

Once you are discharged from the hospital you should:

  • Before leaving the hospital, make sure you understand the instructions that your doctor or nurse gave you about taking care of your wound or any new medications you may need to take. You can always call for clarification, but it's best to make sure at the time.
  • Take your medications as directed by your surgeon.
  • Always clean your hands before and after caring for your wound.
  • In the event you have a concern/problem after discharge, do not hesitate to contact your surgeon. If it is after hours, the surgeon's office phone will have instructions on how to reach the on-call surgeon. If you feel you need urgent medical attention, go to the closest emergency room.
  • If you have any symptoms of infection, call your surgeon immediately. Signs of infection are:
    • Redness or pain at the surgery site
    • Drainage at the surgery site
    • Fever
  • The next business day following your surgery, one of our nurses will call you at home to see how you are doing.

Surgery at Sibley Memorial Hospital

Learn more about innovative procedures we provide to patients at Sibley Memorial Hospital in the Washington, D.C. community.

back to top button