Our UHN programs and services are among the most advanced in the world. We have grouped our physicians, staff, services and resources into 10 medical programs to meet the needs of our patients and help us make the most of our resources.
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Our 10 medical programs are spread across eight hospital sites – Princess Margaret, Toronto General, Toronto Rehab’s five sites, Toronto Western – as well as our education programs through the Michener Institute of Education at UHN. Learn more about the services, programs and amenities offered at each location.
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The TIA And Minor Stroke (TAMS) Unit operates 7 days a week for high-risk patients with Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) or minor (non-disabling) stroke symptoms. A TIA is a temporary blockage of a blood vessel (an artery) that goes to the brain. When a blockage occurs, blood stops flowing to a part of the brain and a person will have symptoms of a stroke. If the body is able to open the blood vessel quickly enough so that blood flow restarts, the symptoms will go away after a few minutes or hours with no permanent damage. A TIA is a threat to a stroke and if proper medical and lifestyle changes are made, a major stroke can be prevented.
If you are seen in the emergency department for a suspected TIA or minor stroke, the emergency doctor may refer you to the TAMS Unit. We accept referrals from emergency departments at Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital and St. Joseph’s Health Centre.
Our model of care is a collaborative team approach among many health care practitioners. A detailed assessment is completed by a stroke nurse practitioner and patients will also be seen by a doctor that specializes in stroke care (stroke neurologist). During a TAMS Unit visit, to determine if you have had a TIA or stroke we will arrange a number of tests in order to avoid unnecessary admission to hospital. Patients may also be seen by the allied health care specialists.
In the TAMS Unit, we offer education about stroke and stroke prevention, including lifestyle changes and how to manage or treat stroke risk factors, such as high blood pressure. Our patients receive follow-up care through the TWH
Stroke Prevention Clinic when they need it.
Some of the following tests may be done during your TAMS Unit visit:
Once a referral form has been sent by the emergency department doctor and is received by the TAMS Unit, a nurse practitioner will review the referral within 24 hours (including on weekends). If you meet the criteria for the TAMS Unit, we will contact you in the morning between 8:00 am - 8:30 am. You may be asked to come in for an appointment that same day or within a couple of days. In some cases, your referral may be more appropriate for the Stroke Prevention Clinic. If so, you would be contacted by the clinic staff within a few business days of your emergency department visit about that appointment.
A TAMS Unit visit is usually 3 to 6 hours long. Please be prepared to spend this time with us. This will allow us to do a full assessment, any required tests and start treatments for stroke prevention. We will also provide you with education about stroke prevention that is tailored to your health needs.
You may be asked not to eat or drink for 12 hours before your TAMS Unit visit if fasting blood work is needed. Blood tests are done soon after you arrive so if you have diabetes and need to eat regularly or need to take medication you can do this right after the blood tests.
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You will be contacted with information about your first appointment.
Please bring the following to your appointment. Not all of these items may be needed for your appointment. Our clinic or your referring doctor will let you know what you must bring.
Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment.
When you arrive, you will sign in with the receptionist. You will need your health card (OHIP card) to sign-in. If you do not have an OHIP card, please bring another form of government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport.
You may be given a Measuring Health Equity Questionnaire to fill out. This form contains questions about your background. We collect this information to find out who we serve and what unique needs you may have. The form is voluntary and you can choose ‘prefer not to answer’ to any or all questions. However, the information you choose to give us will help us improve the quality of care for you and others.
First appointments take longer than follow-up appointments. Your first appointment can take 2 hours or more. Follow-up appointments usually take 15 to 30 minutes. We do everything we can to stay on time but sometimes unforeseen circumstances may delay your appointment.
At the end of your first appointment, the nurse or doctor will give you a contact list for your health care team. If you don’t get a contact list, feel free to ask for it.
After every appointment, a member of your health care team will tell you about your next visit. Be sure you understand what is going to happen next. For example, know the time and place of your next visit or if someone will call you with this information.
If you are unsure about what your next steps are, don’t be afraid to ask a member of your team. We are here to help you.
We understand that reaching us by phone can sometimes be difficult. Often our phone lines are busy or are turned over to the message centre so our staff can prepare for clinic visits or help other patients. We make every effort to return your call within 24 hours. Our staff will try to reach you 2 times. If we are not able to reach you directly you may need to call us again.