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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Whether you need to go to the Pre-Admission Clinic before your surgery or not, this section helps you understand how we prepare you for surgery. It includes:
Keep any new information that your health care team gives to you.
The UHN Patient Education & Engagement Program YouTube Channel has helpful videos for you to watch before and during your recovery:
You can also watch these videos at any of our
Patient and Family Learning Centres.
Your visit to the
Pre-Admission Clinic is a very important part of preparing you for surgery.
Come with a friend or family member. They can help you remember information or ask questions during your Pre-Admission Clinic visit.
You must come to your Pre-Admission visit. If you do not have your Pre-Admission visit, we cannot do your surgery.
Please call the Pre-Admission Clinic office if you have any questions or you have to cancel your appointment:TGH: 416 340 3529TWH: 416 603 5379
These tests may also be done in the community at a local blood lab if your doctors request this.
We will screen you for:
COVID-19 is a new coronavirus that can cause severe respiratory illness. You need to self-isolate at home until your surgery day. We will screen you for any symptoms or risk factors and test you for COVID-19 before your surgery, even if you don't have any symptoms. If you test positive for COVID-19, your surgery may be postponed until you have recovered or can safely be around others without spreading the virus.
MRSA stands for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. It is a bacterium (germ) normally found on the skin and in the nose of healthy people. The bacteria have become resistant to some antibiotics used to treat infections.
To find out if you have MRSA, we will take swabs (wipe with a cotton-tipped applicator) from the following areas:
We will let you know if you have a positive MRSA result. This may not happen until you return for your surgery, but this will not affect the date of your surgery. Once you are admitted to hospital, we will take steps to treat and manage your MRSA.
Please ask your doctor or nurse for more information about MRSA.
CPO stands for Carbapenaemase-producing organisms. CPO are bacteria that live in the gut and are resistant to the antibiotics we use to treat infections. Because the bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics, CPO can cause infections that are very difficult to treat. This is why we must take extra care to prevent the spread of CPO within the hospital.
We may need to take a rectal swab from you in the Pre-Admission Clinic if:
Sleep apnea can be a serious sleep problem. Sleep apnea means you stop breathing many times during your sleep. It happens because your throat muscles relax, you stop breathing, and then you wake up from your sleep to start breathing again. This waking and sleeping cycle happens many times when you are trying to sleep. People with sleep apnea may feel very tired and sleepy during the day because they cannot fully rest.
Please tell your doctor if you have sleep apnea or make sure you use your breathing machine (PAP machine), if you have one. It is very important for the doctors and nurses to know that you have sleep apnea so they can watch you closely and plan the best and safest care for you.
We speak with you about:
You may or may not need a blood transfusion during or after your surgery. Your surgical team will discuss this with you. The Patient Blood Management Program aims to reduce or avoid the need for a blood transfusion during or after your surgery.
Your surgeon may order a blood test called a complete blood count (CBC). This test will determine the level of red blood cells and hemoglobin in your blood. If your blood test shows that your hemoglobin levels are low, this is called anemia. People with anemia before surgery may have a higher chance of receiving a blood transfusion during their hospital stay.
Your doctor and Patient Blood Management Team will assess your anemia and decide if you need more testing and treatment.
If you have any questions about the UHN Patient Blood Management Program, please call the Patient Blood Management Coordinator:
You can also talk with a member of your health care team.
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It is important for your health care team to know about any medications you have been taking. A doctor, nurse or pharmacist will review your medications with you during your Pre-Admission Clinic visit and during your hospital stay.
Please have a complete list of
all your medications for your Pre-Admission Clinic visit.
Remember to bring these items if you use them:
Tell your health care team about any allergies or reactions you have had, including any reactions to:
While at your Pre-Admission Clinic visit, you may get special instructions about stopping certain medications before your surgery. This will be written down for you so you will not forget. You may also get special instructions about which medication(s) you should bring with you to the hospital on the day of surgery.
If you were unable to speak for yourself, an "Advance Care Plan" can help us know your health care wishes and who you trust to act on them.
This document tells us who you trust to make decisions on your behalf if you are incapable of doing so. If you have a Power of Attorney for Personal Care, please bring a copy and give it to the Pre-Admission nurse for our records.
If you don't have a Power of Attorney, more information is available from the
Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General.
You can use these documents to tell us about values and preferences that you would want known if you were not able to make treatment decisions yourself. If you have one of these documents, please bring a copy of this the morning of your surgery and give it to the Pre-Operative Care Unit (POCU) nurse for our records.
You can get more information from
Advance Care Planning or ask your Pre-Admission nurse for an "Advance Care Planning Workbook" to help you in this process.
Please tell us if there are changes to the information on your health card (OHIP card) at your Pre-Admission Clinic visit (for example, change of name).
If you have questions or you have to cancel your Pre-Admission Clinic appointment, call the Pre-Admission office at TGH: 416 340 3529 or TWH: 416 603 5379.
When to get to the hospitalPlease come to the hospital about 2 hours before your scheduled surgery time. The surgeon's office will inform you of the exact time you should arrive. For example, if your surgery is scheduled at 8:00 am, you need to be at the hospital at 6:00 am.
Eating and drinkingDo not eat solid foods after midnight (12:00 am) the night before your surgery. You can drink clear fluids up to 5 hours before your surgery time. Clear fluids include clear, non-alcoholic beverages such as any juice without pulp, broth, tea or coffee without milk, ginger ale or Jell-O.You may receive different instructions. Your Pre-Admission Clinic team will talk to you about when to stop eating and drinking before your surgery.
Yes. The operating rooms may be needed for life-threatening emergencies. We will tell you as soon as possible if your surgery is going to be postponed. You may already be at the hospital when this happens. Your surgery date or time might be changed for other reasons too.
If your surgery is postponed to another day, your surgeon's office will call you with a new date. We will do everything we can to not change the date of your surgery. We thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
Call your surgeon's office as soon as possible if there is a
change in your health before your surgery.
Automated Surgery Helpline
Toronto Western Hospital: Phone 416 603 5211
Toronto General Hospital or
Princess Margaret patients: Phone your surgeon's office.
Your surgeon's office will confirm the date and time of your surgery.
You must arrive 2 to 3 hours before your surgery or at the time your surgeon gives you. Please go to the Pre-Operative Care Unit (POCU).
Toronto General Hospital POCU – Take the Munk Elevators to the 2nd FloorToronto Western Hospital POCU – Take the Fell Elevators to the 2nd FloorPrincess Margaret – please go to 18B Surgical Admission Unit
We ask that you and your Essential Care Partner follow the visitor guidelines at the time of your surgery. Ask the health care team for more information about the
UHN visitor policy during COVID-19.
On the day of your surgery bring these items in one small bag with your name on it:
Any items you may need, like a bath robe, clothes or other belongings can be brought to you by your family or friends after your surgery.
The hospital is not responsible for your money or valuables.
We know that you will have your personal items with you such as clothing, medications and personal support aids (for example, eyeglasses, contact lenses, dentures, hearing aids, mobility aids such as a cane, walker, prostheses or wheelchair). The hospital cannot be responsible for these items if they are damaged or go missing. We will give you a copy of our valuables form when you are admitted.
Having surgery may make you feel afraid or uncomfortable. It can be hard because during surgery, you can’t take part in your own care.
At UHN, we want to give you and your family the best possible care before, during and after your surgery. The operating room always has a team of people with you to make sure you are safe.
While you are in our care, a team works together with you to make sure your surgery is a success. Your team may include:
UHN Patient Education and Engagement provides more information about
regional anesthesia and general anesthetic.
There are very important steps we follow before and after your surgery to make sure it is safe and successful.
1. We make sure that we have the right patient and the right site (area on your body).
Before your surgery, your surgeon confirms with you the area on your body where the surgery will happen. They use a marker to mark the area. We won’t take you to the operating room until the site is marked. Please don’t mark your body yourself before your surgery.
We also make sure that you have a wristband that has your name. If you have allergies or you are at risk of falling while in hospital, we will give you separate allergy or falls risk armbands. We check your armbands before you go for your surgery.
If you are having a regional block:
If you are having a regional block or medication that freezes an area of your body before your surgery, the anesthetist marks the site where they give you the block. We take you to a different room to do the regional block. We give you some medication to make you relax while the anesthesia team gives you the block.
After you get the regional block, your surgeon comes to the room, confirms with you the site where your surgery will happen and marks the site. When the operating room team is ready for you, we take you to the operating room.
2. We review all of your information.
Before your surgery begins, we review all of the important information about you out loud. This is called a briefing session. This makes sure that the operating room team understands and agrees with what they will do.
Before the surgeon starts your surgery, we talk about:
3. We review one more time before surgery.
Before we make any incisions (cuts) the team reviews one more time that you are the right patient. This is called a time out. The side of your body and site of your surgery is talked about out loud and everyone agrees on what they will do.
4. We review when your surgery is over.
Before you leave the operating room, we talk about what happened during your surgery. We also make sure we agree where you will go after surgery (for example, the recovery room). This is called the debriefing.
The operating room may be cold and bright. You may hear some alarms and bells. These safety alarms help us with our work and keep you safe. We also watch you closely in the operating room. There are some important safety checks we use to keep you safe during your surgery. For example:
If you have any questions about your surgery, please call your surgeon’s office.
Please review UHN’s
COVID-19 page for the most up-to-date and important information about UHN’s visitor policy and what to expect when coming to the hospital.
Choose 1 person to call the hospital to find out how you are doing. This person can share the information with your family and friends. Please give us the name of this person, their phone number and what type of information you would be comfortable with them knowing. We will write this information down in your chart.