FOR PATIENTS AND VISITORS: You must self-screen and wear a mask if entering the Emergency Department, waiting areas, patient rooms or other patient care areas. All Unity Health Toronto spaces are mask-friendly. Learn more about our current guidelines for visitors.

Your Hospital Stay

In this section you will find information related to your patient journey, including what to bring for your hospital stay, how to prepare for surgery and more.

Before coming to the hospital, make sure to bring your:

  • Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) Card
  • Additional health insurance and policy information
  • Any medications, vitamins or supplements you are taking
  • Overnight and toiletry items
  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, if you use one
  • If you have been asked to take a COVID-19 test before surgery, please bring a copy of the results
  • If you have been asked to bring equipment, e.g. crutches or a sling, please bring them to hospital
  • If you have been instructed to pay for something on the day of surgery, please be sure to bring a method of payment, e.g. credit or debit card

Do not bring:

  • Jewelry, large amounts of cash or any valuable items
  • Scented personal care products
  • Alcohol or illegal substances

Please keep the belongings you bring to a minimum.

  • You will visit with pre-admission staff, either in person at one of our Unity Health locations or on the phone, who will help to answer your questions, help you complete all your required tests and paperwork, and let you know what you can expect.
    • At St. Joseph’s Health Centre, the Pre-admission Clinic is in the Barnicke Wing on the second floor. For more information, please contact the Pre-Admission Clinic at 416-530-6504.
    • At St. Michael’s Hospital, Patient Registration and Admission Services is on the 1st floor of the Donnelly Wing South, above the Queen St. lobby. The Preanesthesia Assessment and Testing Clinic (PATC) is on the 10th floor in Donnelly Wing South (enter through the Queen St. lobby, Donnelly Wing). For more information, please contact the clinic at 416-864-5689.
  • The pre-admission process is a good time to let staff know what type of room you would like. All Unity Health locations provide standard ward, semi-private and private rooms. There is a cost for semi-private and private room stays which may be covered fully or partially by you or your insurance company. You will be asked about the name of your insurance company, policy ID number and expiry date.

  • Meals. Our nutrition services teams will deliver quality meals to meet your specific health-care needs three times a day.
  • Housekeeping. Your room is cleaned every day by our housekeeping team.
  • Telephones and television rentals (if this is offered on your unit).
    • Please note: As of April 8, 2022, inpatient television services will no longer be offered at St. Joseph’s Heath Centre. This decision was made in line with our peer hospitals and in response to declining viewership rates across the hospital. Patients with an upcoming hospital stay at St. Joseph’s are encouraged to bring their own devices, such as laptops and tablets, and take advantage of our free Wi-Fi.
  • Internet access.

While you are staying in the hospital, medications will be provided by our pharmacy and administered by your nurse. Please do not use your own medications in hospital without first checking with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

  • Ask your nurse or doctor
  • Ask the person at the nursing station
  • Ask for your doctor to be paged

Your care in hospital is managed by a health-care team which may include:

  • Dietitians
  • Doctors
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Nurses
  • Occupational therapists
  • Pharmacists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Personal support workers
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Speech-language pathologists
  • Spiritual care professionals
  • Social workers
  • Students or residents supervised by our clinical staff (St. Joseph’s Health Centre and St. Michael’s Hospital are teaching hospitals. As a patient, you play an important role in helping to support the training of future health-care professionals).

  • While you are in hospital, your health-care team will keep you informed about your care. When you no longer require acute care, your doctor will write an order for your discharge.
  • In general, patients are discharged in the morning between 8 and 11 a.m. Day surgery patients may leave when clinically ready.
  • If you have day surgery and are coming home the same day of your surgery, you will need to have someone with you to accompany you home and stay with you overnight.
  • If your health-care team determines that you need a different type of care than what Unity Health offers, we will discuss with you the most appropriate programs or facilities that are able to meet your care needs.
  • The majority of patients will require additional medication (e.g. pain medication) after surgery. Please ensure that you plan ahead to get your prescription filled at a pharmacy after your surgery, i.e. the same day you leave the hospital.

Before your surgery, you may visit the Preanesthesia Assessment and Testing Clinic (PATC) at St. Michael’s Hospital or Pre-Admission Clinic at St. Joseph’s Health Centre which could last anywhere from 30 minutes to five hours. During this visit or during the calls:

  • A nurse will assess your condition and review any medication you are taking.
  • The procedures to be followed before, during and after surgery will be explained to you.
  • You will be able to ask questions about the procedure, the surgery, and the hospital.
  • A doctor may examine your physical condition and medical history.
  • If required, you will have blood tests, X-rays, ECG or other test(s) as requested by the surgeon or the anaesthetist.
  • If required, you may discuss medication protocols related to your surgery with a pharmacist.
  • You may see an anesthesiologist, medical specialist or endocrinologist prior to admission to further assess your medical condition. We will try to coordinate appointments with your pre-admission visit. (St. Michael’s only).

Follow these steps on the days leading up to your surgery:

  • Confirm the time of your surgery with your health-care team.
  • Confirm any instructions about eating or drinking with your surgeon and/or anesthesiologist. Avoid smoking, alcohol and recreational drugs.
  • If you develop a cold, have flu-like symptoms (fever, headache, chills, nausea) or a chest infection, call your surgeon.
  • If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, call your surgeon.
  • Arrange to have someone to take you home by taxi or car after your surgery.
  • If advised by your doctor, take a shower with antibacterial soap the night before surgery and/or the morning of surgery.

On the morning of your surgery, please follow these guidelines:

  • Follow the instructions of your physician or nurse regarding which medications to take on the day of your surgery. Bring any medications you take on a daily basis with you to the hospital.
  • Bring an interpreter who can speak English, if needed.
  • If you are to receive physiotherapy after surgery, please bring with you:
    • Comfortable clothing (such as a tracksuit)
    • Walking or running shoes
    • Any equipment you were told to bring, e.g. crutches, sling, surgical boot
  • Please ask your family to bring your personal items (clothes and toiletries) after your surgery once you have been assigned a room. If you are unable to have these items brought later, your clothes and other belongings will be transferred to your post-surgery unit.
  • Do not wear or bring the following:
    • Make-up
    • Nail polish
    • Cosmetics and perfumes
    • Valuables
    • Jewelry

If you are going home on the same day after your surgery, please note the following:

  • You are required to have someone accompany you home and stay with you overnight. We advise that you do not take public transit home (e.g. TTC subway, bus or GO train).
  • You will be observed after your surgery to make sure the initial effects of anesthesia have worn off.
  • On rare occasions, you may have to be admitted to the hospital.
  • You are advised not to attempt to perform any task that requires skill, coordination, or judgement for 24 hours after your anesthetic or while taking narcotics for pain.

Unity Health Toronto is committed to delivering an exceptional experience for all our patients. We serve diverse communities, including individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP) and deaf, deafened or hard of hearing. We understand the importance of ensuring effective communication by providing access to trained and qualified interpreters to patients and their families on a completely private, confidential, and free-of-charge basis.

We currently provide interpretation services through three modes: over-the-phone, on-demand virtual and in-person. For patients or families who are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing, every effort is made to provide sign language and deaf interpretation.

Learn more on our Accessibility page.


Last updated July 14, 2023