Trauma Care and Recovery Guide

Planning to leave Sunnybrook after your trauma injury

There will come a time when you no longer need special trauma care at Sunnybrook and will be ready to leave this hospital. This process is called being “discharged.”

  • You may still need some type of medical treatment or need help to manage your care.
  • Each person’s injuries are different. The path to recovery varies from person-to-person.
  • Your team will work with you or your family members to figure out the best discharge plan.

Here are some options that may be right for you


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Many people recover best in their own home. However, some people will still need special equipment, nursing care or therapy.

  • Depending on your situation, care at home may be arranged by an organization whose services are paid for by provincial health insurance (OHIP).
  • Sometimes you may be asked to make your own arrangements through your private insurance, such as auto insurance or the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).
  • You will need to arrange your own ride home. Please plan to leave before 11:00 a.m.

Hospital Closer to Home

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Many trauma patients at Sunnybrook are far from home. For some patients, care and treatment for their injuries began at another hospital. These patients were then transferred to Sunnybrook for special trauma care. Other patients were brought directly to Sunnybrook, but the ambulance travelled far from their home because they needed the specialized trauma care offered at Sunnybrook. It can be difficult to be far from home, family and friends.

When your Sunnybrook doctors decide that you no longer need specialized trauma care, you may be transferred back to the hospital where your journey started or another hospital in your home area for your care to continue.

  • Once the doctors have said it is safe for you to be transferred, it may take 2 or more days for the other hospital to be ready and have space for you.
  • The other hospital will find a doctor to take over your care.
  • Your team will be communicating with the other hospital before and during the transfer to help make it as smooth as possible.

Rehabilitation Hospital

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If you need intensive therapy for your injuries that cannot be done at your home, the right plan for you might be to move to a rehabilitation or “rehab” hospital.

  • Once the doctors have said it is safe for you to be transferred, it may take one or more days for the other hospital to be ready for you.
  • There are many rehab hospitals in Toronto and in cities and towns nearby.
  • Your care team will talk with you and explain which hospitals would be the best fit for your specific injuries and needs.

Complex Continuing Care Hospital

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You may have many ongoing medical needs which could include tracheostomy care, a PEG (percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy) tube for feeding, or major wound care.

  • A complex continuing care hospital (CCC) can help to take care of these medical needs. There is some therapy at a CCC, but the focus is not rehabilitation.
  • Your care team will talk with you and explain which hospitals provide the most appropriate care for you or your loved one.

Other discharge options

There may be another discharge plan that is right for you that is not talked about in this booklet. For example, at some point during your Sunnybrook stay, you may be moved to another Sunnybrook location, such as the Holland Centre (in the Yonge and Wellesley area) or the St. John's Rehab Campus (in the Bayview and Cummer area) to continue your treatment and recovery. Do not hesitate to ask questions about your discharge plan.

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St. John's Rehab Rendering

Follow-up Care

It is very important that we have all of your correct personal contact information in our computer system. This includes address, phone numbers, emergency contact numbers, and family doctor contact information. This helps the follow-up clinics to get in touch with you for important appointment information.

Discharge Summary

When it is time for you to leave Sunnybrook, you will get a printed copy that gives many details about your hospital stay. Your discharge summary will include:

  • An explanation of the reason for your hospital stay.
  • A list of your injuries.
  • A list of any surgeries or major treatments you received.
  • Medical advice or instructions for you to follow after you leave the hospital.

Follow-up Tests and Appointments

Sometimes when you leave the hospital, some of your Sunnybrook doctors may want to see you and check on how your injuries are healing. If this is the case, you will get information about tests or appointments with these doctors or clinics.

  • We will try to let you know the time, date, and location of your appointments.
  • Sometimes, we are not able to book the appointments ahead of time. If this happens for you, you may be asked to call the doctor or clinic yourself or wait for the doctor’s office to contact you.
  • It is normal for patients to be told to make an appointment with their family doctor. Updating your family doctor about your stay at Sunnybrook is very important to your recovery.

We understand that for some people, it is a long distance from home to come back to Sunnybrook for an appointment.

  • It is most important that you come to your first follow-up appointment.
  • After that, your doctor may try to find you another doctor or clinic closer to home, if it is possible.
  • If you have any questions or concerns about these appointments, please contact the clinic or office where your appointment is set up.
  • You will need to arrange your own transportation for all these appointments.