What to Expect

​​​In the Neurovascular Unit (NVU), a team of health care professionals will care for you during your stay and help you prepare for your discharge.

When You Arrive

A 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
  • Ask you for the name of one individual (usually a family member) to be the main point of contact during your hospital stay. This individual will be responsible for informing other members of your family about your condition, if you wish.
  • Answer any questions you may have

During Your Stay

Monitoring Your Health
Your health care 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 health care team at any other time, ask the nurse looking after you.  The NVU was a pioneer in the development of involving patients and families in bedside reporting. You may be asked to participate when your health team makes rounds. In addition to 24/7 nursing care, members of the health professions team are also available 7 days a week.

You may have blood tests, x-rays, ultrasounds​, CT scans, MRIs 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.

In each room there is a communication board that is updated daily with scheduled tests, your questions for the team and messages for your family.

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.

For Level II acute care patients, we ask that only two people visit at one time. The hospital reserves the right to ask visitors to leave if their presence interferes with patient care. Immediate family members who would like to be involved in your care (such as helping to feed you) should speak with your nurse.

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 health care 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 health care 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 health care 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.​​

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