Accessibility

Unity Health Toronto is committed to providing equitable, inclusive and person-centred service access for everyone. Staff at all three of our locations, St. Joseph’s Health Centre, St. Michael’s Hospital and Providence Healthcare, make it a priority to deliver services in a way that prioritizes human dignity and maximizes independence, inclusivity and participatory decision-making. We support equal access to services by establishing procedures that identify and eliminate any barriers that may be standing in the way of the best possible care experiences for patients.

Operating in full compliance with the Ontario Human Rights Code, it is our mission to affirm and protect everyone’s right to safe and accessible health care for all by adhering to policies with clear accountabilities. This includes embracing people of all races, abilities, classes, beliefs, ages, genders and sexual orientation. In alignment with our organizational philosophy of care and values, we respect the uniqueness of every individual and the diversity of the communities we serve.We have a number of policies, practices and procedures that govern the provision of goods and services to people with disabilities.

Wheelchair access

  • Wheelchairs are available in all inpatient units and some outpatient departments including the Emergency Department, Ambulatory Care Centre and Fracture Clinic

For deaf, deafened and hard of hearing patients and staff

  • Amplified phones: available at Switchboard
  • Baby sound monitor with bed shaker – available on unit 1L
  • Pocket talkers: available at Switchboard, Ambulatory Care Centre, Pre-Admit, and selected inpatient units
  • Relay service: available by the telephone company
  • Sign Language: please advise the staff so they can make necessary arrangements.
  • Televisions Closed-captioned TVs are available upon request from the television rental service.
  • Support person: not available at St. Joseph’s but welcomed
  • Uniphone (TTY/TDD): available at Switchboard

Speech and/or language

  • Communication board: available through Speech and Language Pathologists
  • Pen and paper: available in all our units
  • Support person: not available at St. Joseph’s but welcomed

Guide/animal services

  • For the wellbeing of the service animal, we ask that patients and clients please have them clearly identified/recognized (e.g. identification card, harness, jacket). Also for the safely of the service animal, the owner is to be responsible for its complete care (i.e. feeding, cleaning issues), supervision and stewardship (i.e. is kept on an appropriate lead) while on the premises.
  • By law there are some areas within St. Joseph’s that are excluded to service animals including the main kitchen, sterilization areas, and the operating room. Also entry into areas with critically ill patients (i.e. Intensive Care Unit or isolation rooms) requires clearance by our Infection Control Department in advance and will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Please speak to one of your health care providers or the Patient Care Manager in charge of your unit.
  • If for health and safety concerns (i.e. staff having severe allergies to animals) the service animal is not permitted in an area, other provisions will be made to ensure that you receive the support otherwise provided by the service animal (i.e. the assistance of staff as sighted guides).
  • Should the service animal need to be separated from you, the hospital staff will make a reasonable effort to assist you in finding an alternative care provider for the service animal. However, St. Joseph’s does not accept any liability for a service animal while on hospital premises.

If you have questions or comments about accessibility at St. Joseph’s Health Centre, please don’t hesitate to contact Patient Relations at 416-530-6652 or patientrelationsSJHC@unityhealth.to.

Accessibility plan

Wheelchair access

  • The Queen St. and Shuter St. entrances are wheelchair accessible
  • The Bond St. entrance is not wheelchair accessible
  • The Queen St. entrance at the south end of the hospital is a Wheel Trans pick-up and drop-off location
  • Wheelchair-accessible washrooms are throughout the hospital
  • The Marketeria, Tim Hortons, Second Cup, and Chapel on site are all wheelchair accessible
  • The following sites have wheelchair accessible main entrances:
    • Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute
    • 61 Queen St. E.
    • 73 Regent Park Blvd. (Sumac Creek Health Centre)
    • 80 Bond St. (Health Centre)
    • 95 Homewood Ave. (Wellesley – St. James Town Health Centre)
    • 140 The Esplanade (St. Lawrence Health Centre)
    • 55 Queen St. East

For deaf, deafened and hard of hearing patients and staff

  • TTY telephone units for the hearing impaired are on hand throughout the hospital. You can request a TTY unit when you arrive at the hospital.
  • If you would like a sign language interpreter for your visit, please let your health care provider know prior to appointment or as soon as possible.

Guide/animal services

  • If you need someone to help during your visit, ask at the information desk and someone may be able to help you. Please note that staff and volunteers cannot lift or transfer you.
  • Your service animal is welcome to come with you to your appointments. If you will be admitted to hospital, please inform the surgical pre-admission/ nursing unit in advance of to ensure that your service animal can be looked after.
  • Note that there may be some instances where other plans may need to be made, but every effort will be made to ensure you have access to your service animal.

If you have questions or comments about accessibility at St. Michael’s Hospital, please don’t hesitate to contact Patient Relations at 416-864-5215 or patientrelationsSMH@unityhealth.to.

Accessibility plan

Wheelchair access

All public entrances to Providence Healthcare are accessible by wheelchair.

Wheelchair-accessible washrooms are available for visitors:

  • Behind Reception at the main entrance to Providence Hospital (2nd Floor)
  • Near the entrance to our cafeteria on the 1st Floor of Providence Hospital (A-Wing)
  • Near our Scotiabank Learning Centre on the 1st Floor of Providence Hospital (B-Wing)
  • In our clinics area
  • Main entrance to the Houses of Providence
  • Our hospital Chapel is accessible by wheelchair on the 3rd Floor.

For deaf, deafened and hard of hearing patients and staff

To ensure effective communication with patients who are deaf, deafened or hard-of-hearing, Providence Healthcare provides access to Pocket Talkers. Please speak with a staff member on your unit for more information.

Elevators

All buildings are equipped with elevators and are accessible to those in wheelchairs, as well as individuals with vision impairment (audio identifies the floor and direction of the elevator, and oversized buttons are imprinted with braille).

Patient escorts

If you need someone to help you during your visit to the hospital, please speak with the Information Desk at the main entrance to Providence Hospital. They may be able to arrange for a volunteer to assist you. Please be aware that we cannot lift or transfer you.

If you have questions or comments about accessibility at Providence Healthcare, please don’t hesitate to contact Patient Relations at 416-285-3666 ext. 4555 or patientrelationsPHC@unityhealth.to.

Accessibility plan

We offer the following services to provide care for you in your first language or to help you translate your medical records.

We provide qualified medical interpreters at no charge to you if you prefer to speak with your health care team in your first language. Our interpreters work in more than 180 languages, including: ​

  • American Sign Language
  • Cantonese
  • Italian
  • Mandarin
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
  • Vietnamese
  • Korean

Your preferred language is recorded in your health record when you register for your appointment.

Interpreters are available in person and over the phone. For short appointments, follow-up visits and diagnostic tests an over-the-phone interpreter will be arranged in advance of your appointment. . If you have a long appointment then an in-person interpreter will be called. It is not necessary for you to arrange for an interpreter. When you book an appointment, your health care team will see your preferred language in your health record and will arrange for an interpreter as needed. ​

Interpretation

If you are more at ease speaking a language other than English, an interpreter can be arranged for you at no cost. Tell your health-care provider and they will arrange an interpreter for you (either by telephone or person to person), based on your visit type.

Unity Health serves diverse communities, including individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP), Deaf, deafened or hard of hearing. We understand the importance of ensuring effective communication by providing trained and qualified interpreters.

We currently provide language interpretations services through over-the-phone, face-to-face and virtual. For patients or families who are Deaf, deafened or hard of hearing, every effort is made to provide Sign Language and Deaf interpretation in-person and virtual appointments.

Over-the-Phone Language Services Provided:

  • Access to trained and qualified interpreters
  • Over 170 languages including Indigenous languages: Ojibway, Oji-Cree, and Cree
  • Free of charge
  • Available 24-7
  • Private and confidential service.

Face-to-Face Language Services Provided:

  • Face-to-face interpretation (in person) and virtual is available Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Must be requested by your healthcare provider with a minimum full business day notice
  • Free of charge
  • Private and confidential service

Sign Language and Deaf Interpretation Services Provided:

  • Available both face-to-face interpretation (in-person) and virtually
  • Must be requested by your healthcare provider as far notice in advance for pre-scheduled appointments due the limited number of qualified Sign Language and Deaf Interpreters
  • Health-care providers can access urgent ASL and Deaf Interpretation after-hours, weekends and holidays through the Canadian Hearing Society (CHS)

It is important for patients and families to let their health-care providers know that they will require sign or spoken interpretation, especially for important discussions that involve treatment, consent, and discharge follow-up care plans.

To arrange a professional interpreter, connect with your health-care provider prior to your appointment. We welcome general inquiries by email SMHinterpreters@unityhealth.to or SJHCinterpreters@unityhealth.to.

Unity Health’s website was designed to be accessible to the widest possible audience. As we have taken great care to ensure our site conforms to web accessibility standards defined by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), we have also employed additional features aimed at further enhancing your experience, such as font size control buttons, language preferences, print-friendly features and responsive content that displays information according to how the site is being viewed (e.g. mobile phone versus desktop computer). Our site is also fully compatible with popular screen reading software.

Resizing text

Our website gives you the option to increase or decrease the text size on nearly all of our web pages. The text size options are located at the top of each page.

You can also increase or decrease the size of a website’s text by changing the setting in your browsers. Click here for a video showing you how to change your browser settings.

Alternative text

Most images on our website have alternative text attributes, also known as alt text. When an image is used on a web page to convey information, its content is also described in text so it can be understood by text browsers and assistive technologies such as screen readers.

People who do not use screen readers can also see the alt text when you move your mouse cursor over an image on our website. We have not used alternative text attributes (alt text) for images on our website that are only decorative or part of the overall website design.

If you have questions or comments about website accessibility, please don’t hesitate to contact Corporate Communications and Public Affairs at 416-864-5034 or communications@unityhealth.to

Last updated June 23, 2021