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Cardiac Rehabilitation

We offer a short-term, intensive program for patients following cardiovascular surgery or a cardiac event, who need short-term care, education, counselling and support.

Referrals & Admissions

Inpatient Admission Criteria

  • Medically stable with no significant fluctuations in medical status within 72 hours
  • Motivated to participate in rehab, has active rehab goals
  • Able to participate in active rehab therapy 5 to 7 days a week
  • Patient's cognitive abilities and state of mental health support participation in active rehab
  • Able to sit unsupported for a minimum of 30 minutes

Special needs accommodated include the following:

  • Intermittent oxygen therapy/home oxygen
  • Tracheotomy (must by corked)
  • Intermittent tube feeds (PEG tube only)

Transfer Checklist and Key Notes

To help ensure accurate assessment, please provide the following information about the patient, prior to, or upon admission:

Patient Profile

  • Allergies
  • Anti-coagulation profile (recent blood work; Coumadin/Fragmin doses: up to 4 days)
  • Diet information with orders including formula, rate, # hours of feed, water flushes
  • Medication Administration Record (MAR)
  • Prescribed Activity levels for upper and/or lower (weight bearing; restrictions), (order to be signed by physician)
  • Special needs (egs. infusion therapy, oxygen, Ostomy)
  • Wound management orders
  • Follow up specialist appointments


  • Behavioral assessment/management (if applicable)
  • Consult reports
  • Discharge summary
  • ECG/Echocardiogram (if applicable)
  • Infection control screen results (MRSA, VRE, and others)
  • Lab results (most recent copy)
  • Names and contact information for all physicians, surgeons specialists
  • Other tests results (including video fluoroscopy)
  • Physician acute care admission report
  • Surgical procedures and dates of surgery
  • X-ray, CT/MRI (if applicable)
  • Social Work summary
  1. For seamless continuum of care, please ensure patients have had the following arranged before, or upon transfer:
    • Clinical follow-up appointments
    • Diagnostic (acute) appointments
    • Transportation for off-site tests/treatments
  1. St. John’s Rehab is a rehabilitation facility and does not have the following services:
    • emergency services
    • mechanical ventilation, total parenteral nutrition, and nasogastric feeding
    • dialysis service
    • isolation or secured units

walking feetProgram Details

The program involves intensive physical and occupational therapy as well as education programs on cardiovascular health, modifiable risk factors, health promotion and lifestyle changes. Social work and psychology services are an important component to address the psychosocial factors associated with recovery.

Our highly trained and educated staff provide assessment, treatment and counselling for patients that extend beyond traditional rehabilitation. Expert medical specialists and rehabilitation professionals individually customize rehabilitation programs that meet the complexity of health and psychosocial issues of each patient.

Recognizing our respective strengths in cardiac rehabilitation, St. John's Rehab has teamed up with the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute to provide smooth referrals to outpatient care.

Program backgrounder

St. John's Rehab program at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre is dedicated to specialized rehabilitation. We are the only hospital in the Greater Toronto Area offering comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation programs following cardiac surgery. Our cardiac rehabilitation program offers care for patients recovering from recent cardiovascular surgery such as coronary bypass surgery, valve replacement and peripheral vascular surgery.

  • We have partnerships with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, Cardiac Care Network, Community Care Access Centre, acute care centres and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute cardiac outpatient services.
  • Patients are admitted to our inpatient program as soon as three days following surgery.
  • Our multidisciplinary team of rehabilitation professionals develops realistic goals and timelines with each patient and keeps in close contact with the patient and his or her family. This helps achieve maximum recovery, independence and quality of life.
  • The individually customized program consists of assessment, treatment and support focused on the whole person - body, mind and spirit.
  • Patients receive education on cardiovascular health and learn about lifestyle changes to promote optimal health and reduce heart health risks.
  • Daily exercise and walking program to build strength and mobility. Energy conservation training and tips to reduce strain to the heart.
  • Our highly skilled and committed multidisciplinary rehab team includes physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nurses, speech-language pathologists, pharmacists, physicians, dietitians, social workers, psychologists and spiritual care.
  • As a teaching site of the University of Toronto, we excel in teaching and researching rehabilitation care.

Our cardiac program patients

April 2014 - March 2015

  • Inpatients admitted: 481
  • Average active rehab length of stay: 13 days
  • Average age of patients: 75 years old
  • Patients aged 55 or older: 96 per cent
  • Gender of patients: 57 per cent male, 43 per cent female

Canadian cardiac facts

  • According to Health Canada, cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in Canada. It is the most costly disease for Canada's health care system.
  • According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation:
    • In 2006, cardiovascular disease accounted for more than 69,000 deaths in Canada.
    • In 2006, 30% of all male deaths and 31% of all female deaths in Canada were due to cardiovascular disease.
    • Heart disease and stroke costs Canadians more than $22.2 billion every year.
    • In 2004, Canadian acute care hospitals handled almost three million hospitalizations.
    • Up to 45,000 cardiac arrests occur each year in Canada. That's about one cardiac arrest every 12 minutes.
    • There are about 70,000 heart attacks each year in Canada. That's about one heart attack every seven minutes.
    • Over 16,000 Canadians die each year from a heart attack.
    • The Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada estimates that at least 80 per cent of premature heart disease and stroke could be prevented through healthy diet, regular physical activity and a smoke-free lifestyle.

Location and contact

Cardiac Rehabilitation Program

St. John's Rehab
285 Cummer Avenue,
Toronto, ON M2M 2G1

Phone: 416-226-6780
Fax: 416-226-5406

Referral question? Contact:

Central Booking (Inpatient Programs)
416-226-6780 ext. 7300

Referring a Patient?

If you need more program details for your patients, please fill out our Printed Material Request Form.