What We Do

The Neurovascular Unit (NVU) at the Krembil Brain Institute was the first unit of its kind in Canada. We are designed to provide optimal treatment and begin recovery, for patients with stroke and neurovascular conditions, such as aneurysms and diseased blood vessels in the brain. We offer a 26 bed in-patient unit which includes 6 High Acuity Level II beds, for patients who require specialized monitoring and extra care and 4 telemetry beds for patients who require cardiac monitoring. We champion a vision of right environment, for the right patient at the right time.

We are also home to the TAMS Unit - Toronto's only day unit for patients who experienced Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIA) and minor strokes.

We also maintain close ties with the Stroke Prevention Clinic.

You need to be seen and admitted by a doctor at UHN to become a patient in our unit.​

What Makes Us Special

We are Canada's first neurovascular unit. The unit also works in collaboration with the Toronto Rehab (TR) stroke program to ensure that recovery is seamless and that the transition from acute care to complex continuing care maintains the highest level of expertise.

 Materials and Resources to Help You

​Resources From KNC

​​The Patient & Family Education Program at UHN offers valuable resources to help you understand your condition.​

Resources from the Patient & Family Education Program PDF Icon

* These material(s) are also available in other languages.

Related Links

Family and patient nutrition information sessions are held on the NVU weekly – please join us every Wednesday from 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm.

Learn about what to expect before, during and after your surgery, as well as preparing to return home, in UHN's surgery binder.

The Patient & Family Education Program at UHN offers valuable resources to help you understand your condition. Find the information you're looking for.

Visit Krembil health information section.

Patient & Families Services

All patients admitted to the NVU with a diagnosis of the following will receive a follow up hospital call approximately one month after discharge.

  • aneurysm
  • arterial venous malformation (AVM)
  • cavernoma

You can also find other services throughout UHN. Learn more about patient and family services available throughout UHN.​

 Your Inpatient Stay

What to Bring

For your stay, bring the following items. If you forget to bring anything with you or if you arrive in our inpatient unit after visiting our emergency department or transferring from another hospital, a friend or family member can bring the items after you have been admitted.

Documents and Information

  • Health card (OHIP card).
  • Information about private health insurance or other health benefits. If you have private health insurance or receive other health benefits, this may help to cover the cost of preferred accommodation if you request to stay in a semi-private or private room
  • A copy of any advance directive (power of attorney or living will) you may have.
  • Contact details for other healthcare providers who have been involved in your care to help us ensure continuity in your care.
  • The names, addresses and telephone numbers of your family members, friends or other emergency contacts and your family doctor.


  • All your medications in their original bottles.
  • A complete list of medications you are currently taking, including prescription medications, non-prescription medications, vitamin or mineral supplements and herbal remedies.

Clothing and Personal Items

  • Loose, comfortable clothes to wear during the day that are easy to put on.
  • Clothes to sleep in, such as a nightgown or pyjamas and a robe.
  • Socks and comfortable shoes with non-skid rubber soles, such as running shoes. If you have limited movement in your arms or hands, we recommend bringing shoes with Velcro straps.
  • Slippers (rubber soles and closed backs are preferred).
  • Toiletries, such as a toothbrush, tissues or lip and skin moisturizer. Please do not bring any scented products.
  • Electrical supplies such as a razor or blow dryer. ​Please show your nurse any electrical items you bring, as items need to be checked to make sure they can be used safely in the inpatient service.
  • Hearing aids and batteries, dentures and eyeglasses.
  • Walker, wheelchair or other mobility aids, labelled with your name and phone number.

You may also want to bring:

  • A cell phone and/or a phone card for local and long-distance calls.
  • Small personal items, such as books or magazines.
  • A personal device for music or entertainment, and headphones or earplugs so you do not disturb other patients. Free UHN guest wi-fi is available throughout the hospital.
  • A small amount of money for newspapers, coffee or other small purchases in the hospital.
  • Anything else that will make your stay more comfortable.

We do not take responsibility for your money or valuables. If you choose to bring them into the hospital, you are doing so at your own risk.

When You Arrive

An admitting clerk, intake coordinator or nurse will meet with you shortly after you arrive. They will welcome you and:

  • Tell you about the services available while you are at UHN
  • Get your health card (OHIP card) number
  • Get information about any private insurance you may have or other health benefits you may receive
  • Get any other relevant information, such as advance directives
  • Help you get settled and comfortable as quickly as possible
  • Answer any questions you may have

During Your Stay

Your Treatment

Monitoring Your Health
Your healthcare team will see you every day. We will talk with you about how you are doing and answer any questions you may have. If you want to speak with a member of your healthcare team at any other time, ask the nurse looking after you.
You may have blood tests, x-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans or other tests performed during your stay. If we recommend that you receive any of these tests, we will discuss them with you in advance, and we will meet with you afterward to discuss the results.


We encourage you to have family members, friends and other supportive visitors during your stay. You are welcome to meet with visitors in your room, in the common lounge areas and in the visiting areas outdoors.

UHN hospitals offer flexible visiting hours. Learn more about visiting patients at UHN »


Throughout our hospital, you and your family and other visitors can find a range of amenities to make your stay more enjoyable and comfortable. Learn more about amenities at UHN hospitals.

Eating and Drinking

You will have a chance to tell us about your food preferences and allergies when you are admitted to the hospital. This information will be entered into our computer system, and your meals will take into account your preferences and allergies, as well as the diet plan specified by your doctor.


If you are taking any medications before you enter the hospital or if our healthcare professionals order new medications during your stay, we will provide your medications at the required times. For each medication, you should know:

  • The name of the medication
  • Why you need it
  • How much to take
  • When to take it
  • Any side effects it may cause

If you want to know more about your medications, you can ask your pharmacist, doctor or nurse at any time.

Pain Management

As your body heals, you may experience some pain and discomfort. Our goal is to make sure that you have as little pain as possible.
Managing your pain can help your recovery. Pain management can:

  • Decrease the amount of stress on your body
  • Promote healing
  • Decrease complications
  • Prevent the development of chronic or long-term pain

To manage your pain, we need to know what you are feeling. You can describe your pain on a number scale, where "0" means "no pain" and "10" means "the worst pain you can imagine." You can also describe your pain with words like:

  • Mild
  • Moderate
  • Severe
  • Sharp
  • Achy
  • Throbbing

These words can help us understand and treat your pain.

Hand Washing

It is important to wash your hands well and often while you are in the hospital. Washing your hands will reduce the chances that you will become sick or get an infection.
It's okay to ask your doctor, nurse and other healthcare providers to wash or sanitize their hands using a gel hand sanitizer before examining you.
You can learn more about infection control at UHN.

How Long Will Your Stay Be?

The length of your stay will be based on your healthcare team's assessment of your condition. Soon after you arrive on the unit, we will discuss with you and your family how long you will be staying.

The goal should be to work towards an average length of stay in the NVU of 5 days. Patients who have had ischemic strokes can expect an average stay of 3-5 days. Patients who have had a hemorrhagic stroke can stay an average of 5-7 days.

Preparing for Your Discharge

We will work with you and your family to start planning early for your discharge to help you make a safe and successful transition.
At the end of your inpatient stay, we will give you any discharge instructions and a prescription for any medications you require.
If you have any questions about your discharge or your care needs before you leave the hospital, don't be afraid to ask a member of your team. We are here to help you.​​​

 Meet Our Team

Medical Director: Dr. Frank Silver

Nurse Manager: Arlene Vasconcelos

Advanced Practice Nurse Educator: Maria Chiera-Lyle

Nurse Practitioner (NP): The NP is a registered nurse and is a licensed practitioner with additional training and education. The NP has the authority to diagnose, order and interpret your tests. He or she can also prescribe medicines and discharge you from the hospital. The NP helps to coordinate your care with other members of the healthcare team.

Registered Nurse (RN):  Your nurse is responsible for your daily care. You will meet several nurses throughout your hospital stay. Your nurse can provide you with information or direct your questions to other members of the healthcare team as necessary. The nurses received special training to look after patients in the Neurovascular Unit (NVU).

Patient Care Assistants (PCA): PCAs help the nurses to provide the best patient care. They help with daily living tasks such as feeding, turning, bathing, and transferring.

Nurse Manager: The nurse manager is responsible for all the nurses, ward clerks and PCAs making sure that you receive good care. She is there to help you with any questions and concerns that you or your family may have.

Ward Clerks: Ward clerks are located at the nurse's station. They are your first contact when you come to the unit and are a good resource for you and your family.

Pharmacist: The pharmacist will work with your doctor and/or NP to decide what medicines you need. The pharmacist will teach you how to use these medicines and will answer your questions including medication benefits and side effects.

Physiotherapist (PT): The physiotherapist will assess:

  • Your strength
  • Your balance
  • Our coordination
  • How well you can walk and move safely

The PT will create a treatment plan with you and other members of the health care team. The goal is to help you become a physically independent as possible.

Occupational Therapist (OT): The occupational therapist will assess how you will return to activities you need to/want to be able to do including:

  • Eating
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Toileting
  • Return to work/driving
  • Cooking
  • Homemaking
  • Banking
  • Other activities you usually enjoy

The OT will create a treatment plan with you and other members of the health care team. The goal is to provide support so that you are as independent in your daily life as possible.

Research Team: The Toronto Western Hospital is a teaching hospital and is involved in many research studies. During your stay on the NVU, a Research Coordinator and doctor may talk to you and invite you to join a study if you qualify. You can choose whether or not you would like to join. If you do choose to join, you will be taken by the Research team as well as the rest of the regular NVU team members. If you decide not to participate, your care will not be affected in any way.

Medical students, residents and fellows also may be part of our team. Learn more about health care professional trainees at UHN.​

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