Learn what to expect during your procedure and how you and your family can prepare.

Your procedure: What to know

Details vary depending on what you’re having done. Here are some things you’ll need to consider.

When to arrive

The doctor or nurse will let you know what time to arrive, where to go and how long you’ll be at the hospital.


If anesthesia is required, your stomach will need to be empty. Your doctor will give you instructions about when to stop eating solid foods and liquids. If you’re on any kind of medicine, make sure to tell your doctor and find out whether you should take it before your procedure.

Dealing with stress and anxiety

It’s normal to feel anxious about surgery or a medical procedure. Here are some ways you can cope:

  • Before your surgery or procedure, learn as much as you can about it. Talk to your doctor or nurse about what will happen and what to expect at the hospital and during recovery.
  • Talk about how you feel with a family member, a friend, your doctor or someone you trust. Your family members may be feeling anxious as well, and may need to talk to someone who understands.
  • Ask questions. Find out about support and resources that might help you and your family. Talk with the nurse, doctor or patient experience representative.

Plan for your hospital stay

See Prepare for Care for tips on getting things in order at home before a hospital stay.

Make Your Wishes Known

Under Pennsylvania law, you have the right to make informed choices about health care, but it is important that you first communicate those choices before they can be carried out. Please give serious thought to the treatment you prefer and who will be responsible for making sure your wishes are followed, ahead of time. Discuss your preferences with your family and physicians. These preferences are stated in two types of documents – an advance directive and a durable power of attorney

See Advance Care Planning for information on advance directive documents and preparation. 

Organ Donation

State law requires hospitals and medical centers to solicit requests for organ and tissue donations, when appropriate. Patients should advise their family and physicians if they have signed an organ donor card or wish to be an organ or tissue donor.

Ethics Consult

If a person becomes seriously ill without their wishes being known, there may be questions about treatment choices. An ethics consult is an opportunity for a patient and/or family members to talk with physicians, nurses and other staff, including members of the Ethics Committee about these difficult questions in order to have as much information as possible about the best course for treatment. Please ask your care team if you would like an ethics consult.