Southern Cross Hospitals

Before you arrive

What to do before admission

  • Confirm the procedure with your specialist and give informed consent by signing and dating the Agreement to Treatment Form in your admission pack 
  • Confirm whether there is any special preparation that you need to complete - or further tests and investigations that you need to undertake before your procedure.  You should comply with the instructions from your specialist, including having any necessary blood tests, MRSA tests or X-Rays before you are admitted
  • Ensure that you are aware when you are required to stop eating and drinking before admission (or surgery) 
  • Check whether you should be stopping any of your regular medications (including natural remedies) before admission.  For example, anticoagulants (blood thinning medication), are often stopped prior to surgery 
  • Check whether there are any illnesses which may result in your surgery being postponed, and who you should contact in the event that you contract any such illness
  • Check what time you should arrive for admission, and where you should report
  • Contact your health insurer to arrange ‘prior approval’ and,
  • Arrange transport to and from the hospital.

    : Please complete and return the 3 Forms in your Patient Admission Pack at least 5 days prior to your admission. 

Pre-admission checks

You may receive a phone call from one of our pre-admission nurses to clarify the information provided on your Patient Health Questionnaire or to invite you to a pre-admission appointment prior to surgery.

What you need to bring

 All patients are requested to bring:
  • Your Patient Admission Pack, including the completed “Forms to fill in".  If you have faxed or scanned and emailed these to us, please bring in the originals, together with the "Your Anaesthetic" information sheet, which you will need to discuss with your anaesthetist 
  • Any test results relevant to your procedure, such as hard copy X-rays and scans (CT, ultrasound, MRI) 
  • All your current medications in their original containers, including a printout of your medications from your GP or pharmacy/chemist that includes the dosage and how often you take them.  This will help your doctors ensure the correct medications are continued for you.  Medicines include tablets/pills, syrups, ointments, inhalers, injections, herbal remedies, homeopathic and complementary medicines, vitamins and other supplements.  See My Medicines for more information
  • Your health insurer's company’s letter of ‘prior approval’  (if applicable)
  • ACC’s letter authorising your treatment in a private hospital (if applicable)
  • Glasses and other physical and personal aids (walking sticks, hearing aids, etc)
  • For children, it's a good idea to bring their favourite toy, blanket, etc
  • Please note that you must have means to pay your account.  If you do not have 'prior approval' you will be expected to pay either prior to admission, on admission or to settle any outstanding amounts on departure from our hospital.  See Payment Information.

Overnight stay or longer, please also bring:

  • Comfortable sleepwear, dressing gown, slippers or footwear and personal toiletries 
  • Comfortable daywear to facilate your early mobilisation
  • Any personal aids such as glasses, hearing aids and dentures 
  • Reading material or other leisure activities.

For day stay patients, please also bring:

  • Comfortable loose clothing (sleepwear is not required).

Please note that you should not bring: 

  • Any items of value including jewellery (except MedicAlert pendants and bracelets), cash or other personal items or equipment - as Southern Cross Hospitals cannot take responsibility for their safe keeping and will not be liable for any loss or damage
  • Your vehicle, as you will be unable to drive following your procedure. We recommend that you organise transport to and from the hospital in advance.

What to organise at home

  • If you live alone it is advisable for you to arrange for an adult person (family/whanau or a friend) to stay with you for a few days after your discharge particularly for your first night home following a general anaesthetic
  • If you expect to have your mobility reduced following surgery, you might consider relocating to a more accessible room in your house.   

Immediately before admission

  • Please follow the instructions of your surgeon and anaesthetist regarding eating (this includes chewing gum and sweets), drinking and taking medication 
  • Do not shave near where you will be having surgery. Shaving can irritate your skin and may increase the risk of infection.  If shaving / clipping is required this is best done with the guidance from or by the nurse once you are in hospital
  • Please shower and wash your hair before admission, and remove all nail polish, make-up, body piercings and jewellery If you have a Medic Alert bracelet/pendant, please leave this on and tell the hospital what it is for
  • Please wear warm clothes to the hospital, keep warm in cold weather (including heating the car before you get in).  Keeping warm before surgery can lower your chance of getting an infection
  • Please allow yourself plenty of time to get to the hospital. It is always better to be early rather than late and you will feel more relaxed.  However, if unavoidable circumstances delay your arrival, we ask that you notify the hospital as soon as possible.




Before you arrive FAQs

Is it OK to continue smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol the day before my surgery?
Answer: We recommend that you avoid alcohol, cigarettes and non-prescribed medications or substances (other than your prescribed medications) for at least 24 hours prior to your admission. You may wish to consider using nicotine replacement prior to, during and after your hospital stay.  Please talk to your specialist about this prior to your admission. See Medication FAQs  for more information.

What if my health is changed, or I have a cold or skin infection?


If there have been any recent changes in your health, please advise your anaesthetist, surgeon or Southern Cross Hospitals nursing staff at the earliest opportunity.  For example, if you develop a cold, infection or flu, have a skin infection, scratch or sore, vomiting or diarrhea, or suffer from an asthma attack prior to your admission, you should let your specialist or the hospital know as soon as possible - as it may be necessary to postpone your procedure. 

When should I stop eating and drinking?


If you are undergoing surgery, your stomach must be empty and therefore it is very important to ask your specialist when you should stop eating and drinking (includes chewing gum and sweets) before admission. Here are some general guidelines, but you will receive specific instructions from your specialist, as individual requirements may differ.

Adults and children over 2 years
:  Do not eat anything for 6 hours before your admission time. You may drink WATER freely up until 2 hours before your admission, then nothing more.

Children under 2 years: Cows milk or formula may be taken up to 6 hours prior to admission time and breast milk up to 4 hours before admission. Water only up until 2 hours prior to admission and then nothing more.



Medication FAQs

Can I leave my MedicAlert bracelet or pendant on?


Yes, it is very important that you leave your MedicAlert bracelet, pendant or other MedicAlert item on at all times. It is also important that you indicate that you have a MedicAlert or any other allergey or sensitivty on your Health Questionnaire Form and verbally on admission to your medical specialists and nurses.

Do I bring my usual medications in with me?


You will have discussed with your specialist any regular medications you are taking. 

It is important that you bring all your usual medications and other remedies in the original containers to hospital with you - as well as a printout of your medications from your GP or pharmacy/chemist that includes the dosage and how often you take them.

A detailed list from your general practitioner will help your doctors ensure the correct medications are continued for you. Medicines include tablets/pills, syrups, ointments, inhalers, injections, herbal remedies, homeopathic and complementary medicines, vitamins and other supplements.

Should I tell my specialist if I take natural supplements, herbal, homeopathic or other medicines not prescribed by my GP or specialist?


Yes, always tell your anaesthetist, specialist and/or registered nurse about any vitamins, herbal remedies, homeopathic medications or supplements that you are taking, as these may interfere with conventional drugs and anaesthetics.  As a rule of thumb, do not take non-prescribed medications or substances for a week before surgery unless your anaesthetist or specialist has specifically stated that you can.

Please refer to Your Anaesthetic leaflet, produced by New Zealand Society of Anaesthetists - a copy of which is included in your Admission Pack.  Alternatively, you can view it here)

Should I keep taking my usual medications?


If you are being admitted on the day of your surgery, yes, continue to take your regular medications as prescribed - unless advised otherwise by your specialist. Patients on anticoagulants need to take special care. Anticoagulants (blood thinning medications) e.g. Warfarin, Plavix, Persantin, should not be taken prior to surgery without consulting your specialist. Aspirin or Disprin may be discontinued in the week prior to surgery or your specialist may request you continue to take it. Please check with your specialist.  Please check with your specialist about whether you should continue with any medications, including aspirin or dispirin.