After your child has had an operation

This page explains how your child might feel after an operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) and how you can best care for them in the first few days at home.

Discharge summary

When your child is ready to go home (or in some cases, the day after), you should expect to receive a discharge summary. Before you leave, please check that we have your correct contact details.

The discharge summary acts as a record of  what happened during your child’s hospital stay, what medications have been prescribed and details of any follow-up appointments or further treatment required at Great Ormond Street Hospital (if necessary).

Your family doctor (GP) and referring hospital will also receive a copy of the discharge summary to inform them that your child has gone home and to explain any care or support you may need.

If you have not received your child’s discharge summary within five days of discharge, please call your child’s ward.

You will receive a completed copy of this before you go home

My child is complaining of pain. What can I do?

It is quite normal for your child to feel some discomfort for the first 48 hours after their operation. Usually paracetamol (or ibuprofen if allowed) will be enough to relieve any pain but if your child needs stronger medication, we will give you some before you go home. Always follow the instructions on the pain relief bottle or packet and never give your child more than the recommended dose.

If, when you get home, you feel that your child needs more powerful pain relief, you should call your family doctor (GP). You can also call the ward for over-the-telephone advice.

Is there anything else I can do to make my child feel better?

If their skin is sore around the site of the operation, wearing loose-fitting clothes will make your child feel more comfortable.

Are there any activities my child should avoid?

For the first few days after the operation, your child may be tired and a little clumsy, so do not let them do anything that might lead to a fall. Depending on the operation, there may be some specific activities that your child should avoid. If this is the case, your nurse will write details on the back of this information sheet.

My child does not want to eat. Should I be worried?

It can take a day or so to get back to a normal diet after surgery. Your child will usually drink as normal the day following surgery. As long as they are drinking, you should not worry too much about food.

When should I contact the hospital or my family doctor (GP)?  

  • If your child is in a lot of pain and pain relief medicine does not seem to help 
  • If your child is not drinking any fluids after the first day back home
  • If the operation site looks red or inflamed and feels hotter than the surrounding skin n 
  • If there is any oozing from the operation site
Compiled by:
The Island Day Unit in collaboration with the Child and Family Information Group.
Last review date:
February 2017