For Families


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Toronto General Hospital | map iconMaps & Directions
Eaton Building - 2nd Floor
CVICU​​​ ​Directions​

Contact Information​

Phone: 416 340 3550​

What We Do​​

Your loved one is with us because their condition requires the skill of highly trained, compassionate health care professionals and specialized, modern technology. Our unit fulfils these needs.

Our goal is to provide the best possible care for patients and their families, and we achieve this by working together. You are an important member of our team; you know your loved one best and your input is important to us.

Visiting Hours​

​We know how important you are to your loved one and we appreciate how difficult this situation is for your family.


Visiting in the CVICU is flexible to meet your needs. Please speak with your nurse to plan and co-ordinate visiting times.

Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Talk to the nurse about the best time to plan these visits.​

What to E​xpect

In the CVICU, a team of health care professionals will care for your loved one during their stay.

While it is your loved one who is seriously ill, this experience can be difficult for your family. We are aware of this and will do our best to support and care for all of you. The illness and recovery process, can sometimes feel like one step forward and two steps backward. It is important to try to take one day at a time, and try to encourage your loved one to do the same. The body needs time to heal. By working together as a team, we can all help your loved one cope with this stressful time.

After surgery

After the surgery, your loved one 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 you to visit your loved one.

During the patient's stay

In order to allow our team to spend more time caring for your loved one, we ask that you choose one (1) person to act as a spokesperson or contact person for your 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 about your loved one's condition or care.

While the spokesperson can speak to the medical staff at any time, we will also arrange family meetings if you, or our staff, think it is 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 the patient's progress.

We believe that family members are an important part in the care of our patients. You may help your loved one by giving special mouth and skin care, encouraging breathing, and helping with leg and arm exercises. Your bedside nurse will show you how to do this safely.

You will also be shown how to communicate with your loved one in case they are on a breathing machine and cannot talk.

Your health is important, too. During this stressful time, you must take care of yourself. Try to eat and sleep properly. Taking time away from the hospital is very important. While you are away, your relative will never be alone in the CVICU.

If your loved one has arrived unexpectedly in the CVICU, you can help by bringing toiletries and other items they need during their stay. Learn more about what to bring​.​

When you first see your loved one, they will have finished their surgery, will still be asleep and will not be able to talk or move. They will be supported by a breathing machine and intravenous fluids and medications. They will be getting pain medication to keep them comfortable.

Once your loved one is warm and stable, they will be woken up and the breathing machine will be removed.

While it may be difficult to see your loved one attached to machines, please know that they are comfortable and are being closely monitored. It might also help to know that the patient usually has no memory of this time.

Monitoring the patient's health
Our health care team will see your loved one every day. We will talk with them about how they are doing and answer any questions they may have. If you want to speak with a member of our health care team at any other time, ask the nurse looking after your loved one.

How long will the patient's stay be​?

The length of your loved one's stay will be based on the health care team's assessment of their condition. Soon after arriving on the unit, we will discuss with your family the length of stay.

Preparing for discharge

We will work with your family to start planning early for your loved one's transfer to the Cardiovascular Surgery Inpatient Unit to help you all make a safe and successful transition.

If you have any questions about your loved one's discharge or care needs before they leave the hospital, please ask a member of our  team. We are here to help you.​


​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 list of local hotelsPDF icon image.


It is important to wash your hands well and often in the hospital. Washing your hands will reduce the chances that you will become sick or get an infection.​​

You can learn more about infection control at UHN​​.​

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