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At UHN, we strive to deliver Compassionate Care & Caring. Learn more about the services and supports that are available to you throughout your journey.
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.
At the heart of everything we do at UHN are our Healthcare Professionals. Refer a patient to one of our 12 medical programs. Learn more about the resources and opportunities available for professional growth.
University Health Network has grown to be one of the largest research and teaching hospital networks in Canada - pioneers in improving the lives of patients. Our long history of health professions education at Toronto General, Toronto Western, Princess Margaret and Toronto Rehab hospitals has consistently advanced the science of education.
University Health Network is a health care and medical research organization in
Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The scope of research and complexity of cases at UHN has made us a national and international
source for discovery, education and patient care.
Being touched by illness affects us in different ways. Many people want to give back to the community
and help others. At UHN, we welcome your contribution and offer different ways you can help so you can find one that suits you.
The Newsroom is the source for media looking for information about UHN or trying to connect with one
of our experts for an interview. It's also the place to find UHN media policies and catch up on our news stories, videos, media releases,
podcasts and more.
There are at UHN:
The Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) fulfills the needs of patients who have a condition that requires the skill of highly trained, compassionate health care professionals and specialized, modern technology. We are proud to be Canada's first recipient of the Gold Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence.
As the largest unit of its kind in Canada and the third largest in North America, we care for 1,500 heart surgery patients, 30 heart transplant patients and 600 vascular surgery patients each year.
Our goal is to provide you with the best possible care, and we achieve this by working together with you and your loved ones. You are all important members of our team and your input is important to us.
The Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) is proud to be part of Peter Munk Cardiac Centre. We are transforming the future of cardiac and vascular care for patients, both locally and around the world. We're committed to integrating excellence in clinical care, research, innovation and education.
Our team of highly specialized clinicians uses advanced training and skills to advocate and care for patients during their recovery from cardiac and vascular surgeries. We are equipped with cutting-edge technologies to best serve the needs of each individual patient.
We are also an inter-professional team who works together, using best practice guidelines and current research, to put the needs of our patients first. We are highly compassionate and respect the values and needs of patients and their families.
We are proud to be Canada's first recipient of the Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence.
The Patient & Family Education Program at UHN offers valuable resources to help you understand your condition.
* These material(s) are also available in other languages.
More information on cardiac and heart Health:
health information section.
Our team performs some of the most complex surgeries in Canada. Find out how to prepare and what to expect during and after your hospital stay by reading
Your Heart Surgery guide.
Do you have questions about what to expect when visiting the CVICU, or how to participate in your loved one's care?
Watch the video »
You can also find other services throughout UHN. Learn more about
patient and family services available throughout UHN.
In the CVICU, a team of health care professionals will care for you during your stay.
We are aware of how difficult your experience may be, and we'll do our best to support and care for you and your family.
The illness and recovery process can sometimes feel like one step forward and two steps backward. The body needs time to heal. It is important to try to take one day at a time.
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
Clothing and Personal Items
You may also want to bring:
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.
After the surgery, you will be brought from the operating room to the CVICU. The cardiovascular surgeon will speak to your family members in the 3rd floor Peter Munk Building surgical waiting area.
Family will receive a CVICU information card from the volunteer in the surgical waiting area.
The volunteer will take your family to the 2nd floor Peter Munk Building CVICU waiting area and arrange for your family to visit you.
In order to allow our team to spend more time caring for you, we ask that your family choose one (1) person to act as a spokesperson or contact person for your whole family. This person should be the one who will phone the CVICU for updates and share this information with all the other family members and friends. CVICU staff will call this person if they need to talk to about your condition or care.
While the spokesperson can speak to the medical staff at any time, we will also arrange family meetings, as necessary. These meetings will be held in the CVICU at a time when everyone can join in. Family meetings provide a chance for the members of the health care team and the family to meet and talk about your progress.
We believe that family members are an important part of your care. Your nurse will show your family how they can offer your special mouth and skin care, encourage breathing, and help with leg and arm exercises. You will also be shown how to communicate with you, in case they are on a breathing machine and cannot talk.
After your surgery, you'll still be asleep and will not be able to talk or move. You will be supported by a breathing machine and intravenous fluids and medications. You will be getting pain medication to keep you comfortable.
Once you are warm and stable, you will be woken up and the breathing machine will be removed.
Monitoring Your HealthYour 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,
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.
Though these are always changing, UHN keeps a list of local hotels, bed and breakfasts and short-term rentals in the area. Some provide a discount or hospital rates. Please let the staff know if you need a copy of
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:
If you want to know more about your medications, you can ask your pharmacist, doctor or nurse at any time.
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:
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:
These words can help us understand and treat your pain.
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.
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.
As soon as your health care team feels you are well enough, you will be transferred to the
Cardiovascular Surgery Inpatient unit.
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.
Dr. Patricia Murphy
Nurse Manager: Jeanne Elgie-Watson
Patient Care Coordinators: Joe Abaday and Bridget Dopson
Many people will take part in your care. The following are those who you will meet most often.
ConsultantsDoctors who may be contacted, as needed, to make sure the best possible care is given.
CV Anesthetist (Staff Physician)This doctor is in charge of the unit and provides your daily medical care.
CV SurgeonThis is the doctor who operated on you.
Surgical and Anesthesia FellowsWe have 2 medical doctors (Fellows) who provide 24-hour medical coverage. A fellow or staff doctor is always available in the ICU.
Charge nurses help with the flow of patients entering and leaving the unit.
ICU Registered Nurses (RN)This is a nurse with special training who will be with you 24 hours a day while in the ICU.
Nursing StudentsUHN is a teaching hospital. All nursing students in the unit get close supervision from teachers and staff. Students will introduce themselves to you so that you know who they are.
Nurse ManagerNurse managers are in charge of the unit and may be contacted by patients and their families, about any concerns not addressed by the bedside nurse or medical team.
Patient Care Coordinator (PCC)The PCC helps the manager with patient care. The PCC can also be contacted with any concerns not addressed by the bedside nurse or medical team.
Registered DietitiansA dietician will make sure that you receive the best possible nutrition, either through the food you eat or through a feeding tube, if you are experiencing swallowing problems.
Occupational TherapistsOccupational therapists help you to be more independent. They help you with everyday activities like eating, dressing and bathing. In the ICU, occupational therapists provide splints that prevent muscle tightening and maintain proper positioning of hands and feet.
PharmacistsPharmacists give information about the medicine you're taking. They also help to make sure you have the best medicine for your needs.
PhysiotherapistsPhysiotherapists provide an exercise program to maintain and improve strength in the limbs and to assist in keeping the lungs clear.
Respiratory Therapists (RT)The respiratory therapist is responsible for the "breathing machine" (ventilator) and will assess your breathing status every day.
Social WorkersSocial workers can provide family counseling, assistance and support, coordinate family conferences and talk about discharge-planning options.
Spiritual Care ProfessionalsSpiritual care providers support patients and families of all faiths.
Patient Care Assistants (PCA)Patient care assistants help you with your personal care needs, such as bathing, feeding and mobility. They are staff members trained by the hospital.
VolunteersVolunteers manage the waiting area and help to organize visits into the CVICU. They direct your family to other areas and services within the hospital.
Ward ClerkWard clerks provide administrative support and are typically the first person who patients meet when arriving in the unit.
Learn more about
health care professional trainees at UHN.
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.